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Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

Up until now, you might’ve thought social media marketing and social media advertising were one and the same. The distinction between the two can be confusing, especially if you aren’t familiar with social media and digital marketing.

We’ll break down the differences between social media marketing and social media advertising so you can see how both can be used to achieve your digital marketing goals.

First: What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing consists of any social media actions you take that are unpaid. Whenever you make an original post, share updates with your followers, post about blogs, post pictures and videos, or comment on social media platforms, that’s marketing.

Social media marketing is pivotal to any digital marketing strategy today. Everything from the social platforms you use to your presence and activity on those platforms – including posting, commenting, sharing, liking, and so on – encompasses social media marketing.

How Do You Use Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing always starts with creating company profiles on relevant social platforms. You’ll choose platforms that best suit your industry. For example, home builders and other contractors might use platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to show off pictures of their work. Whereas B2Bs might find LinkedIn more relevant since they’re marketing to other business professionals. No matter your industry or niche, you’ll be able to find a social platform(s) that makes the most sense for your business.

The next step to social media marketing is using your social media effectively. This means focusing on interaction and engagement by posting and sharing original content while also commenting on, liking, and sharing others’ content. These actions are what drive engagement by encouraging others to interact with your content by commenting, sharing, liking, and clicking.

What Should You Post?

The best type of content to post depends on your industry and the platform you’re posting on. For example, where a restaurant or coffee shop would benefit from sharing pictures on Instagram, an industrial manufacturer would not. If you think about it, most people aren’t interested in seeing the inside of an industrial factory. In this case, posting content on Facebook, sharing blog posts and other relevant articles from their industry, or posting infographics on LinkedIn would make more sense.

Social Media Platforms for Social Media Marketing

There are many platforms to choose from for social media marketing, and each one offers something unique that businesses can take advantage of. Some of the more popular ones include:

Facebook – Interaction and engagement with personalized content tend to perform best on Facebook. You’ll want to focus on things like user-generated content, industry-related news, sharing blog posts and articles, videos, etc.

Twitter – With a 280-character limit, Twitter isn’t the best option for long-form content – but it’s great for sharing links and quick updates.

Instagram – This platform is solely designed for sharing images. While you can use images to promote content, you can’t directly link from posts. Instead, you have to share the link in the post’s description or your bio.

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is where blog posts typically perform the best. Also, LinkedIn business page statuses can be up to 700 characters long, so you can easily post original content directly on your page.

Why Take Advantage of Social Media Marketing?

One key principle of inbound marketing is helping potential customers find your company. Since most of your ideal customers are using social media, it only makes sense for your business to have a strong social media presence. That way, you can draw potential customers in and get them to interact with your content.

Additionally, social media is a great way to create a community around your business. This helps to build brand awareness and establish your business as an authority within your industry.

Next: What is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising consists of running paid ads on social channels – it doesn’t involve any unpaid, organic posts or actions. Paid social ads can include banner ads (image-based ads) or native ads (text-based ads) and other actions like boosting posts or like campaigns. Social media ads are typically charged on a pay-per-impression (PPI) basis.

How Do You Use Social Media Advertising?

Paid social is often used to promote content or an offer your company has created. You can develop an ad around what your company is currently offering or boost the posts that include original content. Paid ads increase how far your content reaches, which can lead to more website traffic and conversions.

What Should You Post or Share?

There’s plenty of content to choose from when it comes to promoting something using social media ads. You could promote general information about your brand, consultation services, a how-to guide, and so much more. Before promoting anything, be sure to have a clearly defined goal, eye-catching visuals, a call to action, and a link to your website or a relevant landing page.

Social Media Platforms for Social Media Advertising

Similar to marketing, each social media platform uses advertising in a unique way.

Facebook – Facebook ads play a huge role in your overall digital marketing strategy by increasing brand awareness, attracting leads, and leading to more conversions. With Facebook ads, you create an ad objective, set your target audience and budget, and then monitor your ad’s performance.

A digital marketing agency can work with you on deciding your ad objectives, target audience, and budget, and then monitor ad performance for you.

Twitter – With Twitter, you can use promoted ads, follower ads, and trend takeover. Combining effective ad formats and targeting tools, you’ll be able to build brand awareness and drive conversions.

Instagram – Only business profiles are able to advertise on Instagram as opposed to personal accounts. Instagram ads use the same targeting algorithms as Facebook since the two are connected. These algorithms are probably the most elaborate targeting tools available in advertising today.

LinkedIn – Using LinkedIn ads, you’ll be able to attract more followers by getting updates in front of more people. You can build ad campaigns around specific goals and work through all the stages of the sales process, from awareness to conversion.

Why Take Advantage of Social Media Advertising?

Regular, unpaid posts on social media don’t have the same reach as paid posts and are less likely to get organic engagement. Plus, paid social allows you to target a specific audience. Depending on which platform you use, you can target audiences by location, gender, age, search history, interests, device use, and even occupation.

With pay-per-impression ads, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media ad budget. In order to do this, you’ll want to focus on targeting – ensuring that only your ideal customers see your ads. You don’t want to waste impressions on people who are the least likely to become paying customers. In this case, having high-quality leads is more important than having more people looking at your content. This is what makes paid social a high-ROI advertising strategy.

One more thing – social media analytics can help you better understand your audience so that you can fine-tune your ads for improved reach, engagement, and ROI.

Social Media Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising

When talking about social media marketing vs. social media advertising, the distinction is made between paid and unpaid methods of marketing using social media.

Social media marketing refers to all unpaid actions (like original posts, comments, and shares), and social media advertising refers to paid actions (like PPC ads).

Remember it this way: not all marketing is advertising but all advertising is marketing. Advertising is a form of marketing.

Which is Better?

Well, at this point, you can probably guess what the answer is: both social media marketing and social media advertising are needed. The two don’t really compete with each other. Both strategies can generate leads and sales, and both will get you the most out of your overall social media marketing strategy.

Social media marketing helps create community and foster relationships with current and potential customers. You’re in it for the long game.

Social media advertising helps you put your name, products, services, and links in front of people who are actually looking for what you offer right now.

Need Help With Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Using both social media advertising and marketing will help you achieve the best possible outcome. Not sure you have the team to handle both? That’s what we’re here for! An experienced digital marketing agency, like WebLocal, can help you take advantage of all the power social media has to offer. We know all the best marketing channels and strategies to utilize for your brand. Let us go to work for you – get in touch with us today!

How To Create Effective Facebook Video Ads

With nearly 2 billion users active on the platform daily, Facebook is one of the most sought-after digital marketing channels in the world. From local businesses to international brands like Walmart, businesses are turning to Facebook to reach new and existing consumers.

The popularity of Facebook comes with the added challenge of competing ads, user-generated posts, and more to gain the attention of consumers – all of which you’re up against.

That’s why creating engaging video ads is so important – it’s your chance to stand out on the digital social giant that is Facebook.

Are Video Ads on Facebook Worth It?

Before we dive into how to make successful Facebook video ads, you’re probably wondering whether or not it’s even worth it.

Reaching nearly 3 billion users each month, Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. With that said, Facebook is an obvious choice when looking to channel digital marketing efforts.

But are Facebook video ads an effective way to reach consumers?

Although advertising success is usually contingent on a number of factors other than platform, Facebook ads tend to yield results.

Tips For Creating Successful Video Ads on Facebook

While Facebook video ads can be a highly effective marketing tool, implementing them needs to be done with care, creativity, logic, and precision. Otherwise, you risk not getting the most out of your video ad efforts.

Tip #1: Make Your Video Mobile-Friendly

Almost all Facebook users are accessing the platform exclusively through their smartphones – which means most people who see your ad campaign will be looking at a screen that’s arranged vertically.

Your video should be optimized for playability on mobile devices. Not only will that make it easier for your viewers, but opting for a square or vertical video allows you to take up more screen space, which optimizes your advertising efforts.

Tip #2: Content Matters

Creative, original content goes a long way in sparking a consumer’s imagination and convincing them that they need your product or service. Content can either make or break your Facebook ad campaign because, at the end of the day, your video needs to speak directly to your viewers and pull at their heartstrings. This is how you turn a viewer into a customer time and time again.

Tip #3: Keep It Short & Sweet

This one shouldn’t be surprising when you consider the attention spans of your social media audience. Even if your video thumbnail gets you a click, their focus typically wanes after 10 or 15 seconds.

A high hook rate is what makes the difference here. A hook rate is being able to gain the attention of a viewer within the first few seconds of a video. Facebook allows post ads up to 10 minutes in length, but the most successful video ads are short and sweet. In fact, Facebook itself only recommends 15 seconds as the maximum length for videos.

A short, creative video ad that packs a punch will go a long way with your viewers.

Tip #4: Know Your Options

Knowing your options means knowing all the places you could place your ad. Facebook gives you the option to choose where on the platform you run your ad campaign. These options include:

  • Feed – The news feed section allows consumers to engage with your video as it appears while scrolling through their feed.
  • In-stream – This option allows ads to play within other videos.
  • Stories – The stories feature appears at the top of the page on both the web and mobile versions of Facebook.

You’ll want to figure out your target audience’s Facebook usage habits to determine which ad option is best for you.

Tip #5: Don’t Forget About Muting

Getting your ad seen by consumers isn’t the only hurdle you’ll have when advertising on Facebook. More often than not, you can expect your video to play on mute. In fact, according to Digiday, there’s an 85% chance your video will play muted.

Facebook runs most videos on auto-play, which means they start playing as soon as they appear on a user’s screen. This is good in terms of not needing to find a way to get a consumer to manually play your ad.

However, the auto-play function allows users the option to pre-mute videos. You’re going to have to find a way to gain their interest enough to turn up the volume. Something as simple as “tap for sound” reminders in your video ad can help. Other things you can do:

  • Bold titles
  • Automatic subtitles
  • Eye-catching graphics

Needless to say – don’t sleep on Facebook video ads!

While video ads give you a creative, exciting, and potentially lucrative way to reach consumers, producing video content that performs isn’t always a straightforward endeavor. That’s what you have us for.

Our digital marketing agency stays at the forefront of the digital ad universe. Our expertise combined with the most innovative marketing tools allows us to create highly customized, effective marketing campaigns.

If you’re interested in learning more about Facebook video ads, we’re only one call away. Thanks for stopping by today!

On-Page and Off-Page SEO: Why You Need Both

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – there’s that term again. SEO has been around for almost as long as the internet and is a crucial aspect of digital marketing.

Since the early days, businesses have used SEO to reach new audiences, drive traffic and growth, and spread knowledge.

But how has SEO changed since the times of keyword stuffing and filling every page with backlinks?

SEO has gradually become a more sophisticated and technical practice informed by user behavior. Today, we utilize both on-page and off-page optimization techniques to ensure high rankings for quality websites.

You’re probably wondering – what are these on- and off-page SEO techniques we’re talking about and how can they be used to benefit your business? All your questions will be answered in today’s blog post.

Keep reading!

A Closer Look at On-Page SEO

On-page SEO includes all the ways on-site techniques can be used to get a webpage to rank well. With the use of content and technical elements, you can improve the quality of a page. And the more on-page SEO used, the more relevant traffic you’ll get to your website.

There are numerous technical aspects that can be optimized with on-page SEO to boost your page ranking, including:

  • Headings
  • Title tags
  • URL structure
  • Alt text for images
  • Internal links
  • Meta descriptions
  • Site speed
  • Responsive design

On-Page SEO and the Role of Content

While the technical aspects of on-page SEO are important, one of the more crucial elements is content. After all, content is ultimately what brings traffic to your website.

However, not just any content will get the job done. Today, people are looking for interesting, relevant, engaging, and informative content. People are looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. In order to drive traffic to your website, people must want to consume the content you’ve created.

Content can come in a variety of types, including:

  • Web page copy
  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Interviews
  • Research
  • Studies
  • Reviews
  • Instructional articles
  • Quizzes and polls

Let’s Talk Off-Page SEO

Now let’s take a closer look at off-page SEO and its role in your overall SEO strategy.

Just like keyword stuffing used to be a go-to practice, so too was the overuse of backlinks in an effort to increase page ranking. If you aren’t familiar with backlinks, they are links from one website to a page on another website. Google and other major search engines consider backlinks as “votes” for a specific page.

However, search engines have become wiser, and filling your website with irrelevant backlinks won’t get you very far in terms of ranking.

Although search engines take into account both the quality and number of backlinks – quality always trumpsquantity.

The key takeaway here is that while backlinks are an integral part of off-page SEO, a single, high-quality backlink from an authoritative website is worth much more than 10 or even 100 low-quality links.

Link building isn’t the easiest task, and if you’re new to backlinks, you may want to consider the help of a professional digital marketing agency. If so, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Other Off-Page SEO Practices

While quality backlinks are the backbone of an off-page SEO strategy, there are other techniques that can help boost site authority and encourage more links.

Local SEO

Adding your business to local listings and online directories, like Google My Business, Yelp, and more is a great way to maximize your SEO strategy. It’s important to make sure your information is accurate across all platforms, including your name, address, and phone number. Inconsistencies in information can make you lose credibility and lead to confusion.

Participate in Discussions

Another great way to engage in off-page SEO is by participating in online discussions and answering questions. This can be done on professional forums, Q & A sites, etc. Not only is this an effective off-page SEO technique but it also helps increase trust and brand recognition.

Wrap Up

SEO practices are evolving all the time as online consumer behavior changes. Right now, the best approach to SEO is having a solid strategy that addresses both on- and off-page elements.

When it comes to on-page, the main concerns are quality content and ensuring the technical aspects of your website have been optimized for keywords, efficiency, and speed.

And for off-page, the most important thing is to encourage quality backlinks from authoritative sites as this will guarantee search engines see your site as important and relevant. Remember, high-quality backlinks are how you’ll get rewarded with a higher rank.

Need help with your SEO strategy? Don’t hesitate to reach out – that’s what we’re here for!

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Well, that’s it for today, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

The 5 Pillars of Digital Marketing

If you’re new to the blog and aren’t familiar with digital marketing, this post is a great way to introduce you to the topic.

Today, we’re talking about the five pillars of digital marketing. Let’s dive in!

1. SEO

Search Engine Optimization – a crucial part of digital marketing, yet often overlooked by those building a website for the first time. This is mainly because it can be harder to measure the results of the effort you put into SEO compared to something like social media.

SEO is what controls how well your website performs on search results. Today, having the #1 or #9 spot on Google can make the difference between a thriving business and one with no traffic at all. This is why it’s so vital to tend to your website’s SEO consistently and effectively.

SEO is broken up into three sections: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

On-Page

Creating and optimizing website content with target keywords and related terms to increase relevance and rankings.

Off-Page

Acquiring and managing backlinks from official, relevant sources to boost website authority and relevance.

Technical

The ‘behind the scenes’ aspects to your website that affect crawling, indexation, UX, and rankings.

A balance of these three SEO strategies is where you’ll find the sweet spot. SEO is crucial to any digital marketing strategy – you can’t go without it.

2. Social Media

When people think of digital marketing, social media is often the first thing that comes to mind – which is no surprise.

In recent years, social media has transformed businesses that invested in it both smartly and heavily. Taking advantage of social channels to promote a business has undoubtedly proven itself to be a powerful thing – but it isn’t everything.

The thing is, many people misunderstand and misuse social media as part of their digital marketing strategy. Simply having thousands of followers on Instagram or Facebook doesn’t mean non-stop conversions for your business. Metrics such as followers are known as vanity metrics in the digital marketing world.

Vanity metrics are over-valued yet under-deliver. It’s all fluff.

The whole point here is that while social media is a key component to digital marketing, it isn’t the only solution for growing your business online. And there’s more that goes into a smart social media marketing strategy than gaining followers. For example, your content should be:

  • Relevant
  • Consistent
  • Branded
  • Quality > Quantity

Another thing to consider with regards to social media is to not spread yourself too far or too thin. Most businesses don’t need to be on all social channels such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.

You need to do what works for your brand and build off of that. And if you aren’t sure what exactly that looks like for your business, that’s what you have us for!

3. Branding

Out of all 5 pillars, branding is most related to its offline marketing counterpart.

The way you present yourself online directly relates to the audience you’re trying to sell to.

Everything from your font and color choices to your logo is subconsciously consumed and interpreted by anyone who comes across your brand. This is why consistency is key.

When establishing your brand, you’ll want to consider your target persona: the fictional person you would ideally like to do business with.

When imagining your target persona, it’s more important to think about what your ideal customer is like rather than what your ideal customer likes – there’s a big difference.

  • Where do they live?
  • What are some of their day-to-day challenges?
  • What is their background?
  • What are their interests?
  • iPhone or Android?
  • Budweiser or IPA?

These are all good examples of questions you should ask yourself when creating your target persona.

The more you ask what, followed by a why, and then another why, the more you’ll find the right place for your business online and get yourself in front of the right who.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to make more than one target persona!

When creating a brand, you want one that is accurately and consistently representative of your values. Branding takes time and evolves as you do. Keep in mind that the more you try to appeal to everyone, the less likely you’ll appeal to anyone. Keep it focused and keep it original.

If you’re just getting started with branding or would like to overhaul your current branding strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out!

4. Analytics

After performing all these actions online, you need to know if they’re working, who’s seeing what, and what all is happening, right? Enter analytics.

A solid digital marketing strategy is good and all but without data, it’s impossible to tell what is and isn’t working.

Google Analytics (GA) is the most popular resource used for website analytics. It’s customizable and offers massive insight into what exactly people are doing on your website. You can look at things like:

  • If you’re driving enough traffic to your website
  • Where people on your website come from
  • Where people go on your website (page views, button clicks, time on page, etc.)

Implementing analytics into your website can be overwhelming, and it’s important to understand which metrics actually matter. If it’s not a task you want to take on alone, you don’t have to. In fact, you don’t have to do anything. Hiring a digital marketing agency, like WebLocal, means you don’t have to lift a finger when it comes to your online marketing strategy. All you have to do is stay focused on running your business while we manage the rest. Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about how we manage analytics for our clients.

5. Google Ads

Google ads is the branch of digital marketing that involves budgets. The return on ad spend (ROAS) can be high if done properly.

Google Search Ads

Search ads (GSA) are the sponsored results displayed at the top, bottom, and sidebar of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). They’re an effective way to get your website to dominate the SERPs for people with searches relating to your business.

Search ads differ from SEO because you’re in full control – results are guaranteed (for how much you’re willing to pay), and you have control over the copy that will be in the ad. If you hire a digital marketing agency, they’ll work with you to determine the best search ads strategy for your business.

Take note – generating traffic with search ads won’t help your website’s organic SEO. Google can differentiate between organic traffic and paid traffic.

In order to use search ads, a campaign must be built in Google. Each campaign will contain ad groups – these are groups that contain all possible search queries for a particular category of your business.

If you’d like to learn more about how we manage Google ads for our clients, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out!

In Conclusion

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of some of the most important building blocks of digital marketing. If you’re just getting started with a strategy of your own or would like to revamp your existing one, be sure to contact us! There’s so much that goes into online marketing – this post really only scratches the surface. If you have questions, we have answers.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

5 Reasons Content Marketing is Exactly What Your Construction Company Needs

Today’s blog post is a little different. We’re still talking strategy but instead of taking a general approach, we’re honing in on a particular industry – construction companies.

There’s no shortage of marketing strategies out there. When it comes to construction companies, tactics like email marketing and paid advertising just make sense. They’re the kind of tools that offer tangible results that are easy to measure. After all, practically everyone uses tools like these. Plus, it’s easy to justify a tool that your competitors are using on a daily basis. But what about other marketing tactics?

One marketing strategy your construction company may not be using is content marketing.

Don’t stop reading just yet.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing tactic focused on creating and distributing relevant, valuable, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually one of the most effective digital marketing tools you could use. Not to mention, one of the most affordable!

If you aren’t familiar with content marketing, check out these 5 reasons content marketing is exactly what your construction company needs.

1. To Get Your Name on the First Page of Google Search Results

If you want to see your construction company on the first page of Google, content marketing is the way to go. Content focused on relevant keywords is the most effective way to boost your website’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.

2. To Get More Qualified Leads

Without a doubt, content marketing draws in organic traffic, and organic traffic equals leads.

With a strategic content marketing plan built to help you rank well for keywords that are relevant to your ideal customer’s most common searches and questions, you’ll start to draw in qualified leads. This is a great way to reach ideal buyers who have an actual interest in the types of projects you want to bid on.

Let’s say, for example, you want to build more apartment buildings. You would want your content marketing strategy to be focused on topics related to those types of projects. Content about things like new apartment construction and what permits to pull will draw in leads who are interested in those topics.

3. To Stand Out in the Industry

The construction industry is competitive, and since you’re likely restricted to a particular service area, there’s only so much work to compete for.

Quality content marketing can be the thing that makes you stand out in a crowded market. Not only will it position you well on search engines, generating more qualified leads, but it also helps you build authority in your market. And the more authority you have, the higher you’ll rank for any topic related to your construction company.

When we say authority, what we mean is the more helpful and comprehensive your content is and the more your content answers common questions, the more authority your website will have. Top results on search engines are seen as the ones with the most authority, and a solid content marketing strategy will get you there.

4. Answer Questions Online, Instead of Over the Phone or in Person

Your sales team is most likely answering the same questions over and over, right? When you create content that answers those questions, you’ll save your team some time while also boosting your SEO game.

Any questions your team gets asked on the regular are the same questions getting typed into search engines. Creating helpful, relevant content around those common questions will save your staff the headache and draw in the qualified traffic you’re looking for.

5. To Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Content marketing is a must for digital lead generation, but it’s also essential in nurturing leads for you. Today, consumers do majority of their research online before talking to an actual salesperson.

For construction-related projects, consumers are going to research the top companies in the area, getting an idea of the type of work you do, and checking out your past projects before ever picking up the phone. If you have quality content ready for them, you’re already a step ahead of that sales cycle.

Set your sales team up for success with content that answers common consumer questions, showcases your best work, helps prospects get a good idea of how long their project will take, and what they need to get a quality bid from you.

Utilizing content marketing tools like email workflows, automated sales emails, and content offers, you’ll be able to nurture leads without your sales team having to step in. This way, you’re still working hard to pull prospects through your sales cycle quicker while lessening the load for your sales team. That’s what content marketing does – it goes to work for you.

If your construction company is looking to boost your digital presence, draw in more qualified leads, and get ahead of the competition, content marketing is a must.

Our team is ready to set up a successful content marketing plan for your construction company when you’re ready – all you have to do is contact us!

5 Reasons Brand Identity is Crucial For Your Small Business

A strong, recognizable brand identity can make all the difference in terms of brand awareness and growth. So, what is brand identity and why is it so important?

What is Brand Identity?

Your brand identity is what separates you from every other Tom, Dick, and Harry on the block. Everything from your logo and website to signage and business cards is what makes up your brand identity.

When talking about brand identity, we’re looking at all of the visual elements that could be used to promote a business. For example:

  • Business Cards
  • Stationary
  • Signage
  • Product Packaging
  • Print Materials (flyers, brochures, etc.)
  • Apparel
  • Website
  • Logo

The Customer Experience

When it comes to building and strengthening a brand, a consistent and professional brand identity is key. Forming and preserving a brand identity is not an easy feat – it requires your entire team to be on the same page across all channels of media. Whether a customer visits your website, your Facebook page, or your storefront, you want them to have the same experience; a great experience that is unique to your brand. Once you’ve curated your brand identity, a great way to ensure cohesiveness across the entire front is through the use of guidelines. A brand identity guideline acts as a manual for your staff to reference when joining your team and becoming part of your brand’s voice.

Let’s dive into the 5 reasons a solid brand identity is crucial for your business.

1. Personality

Your brand identity is essentially the visual representation of your business’s personality. The design you go with sets the tone of your brand. Did you know colors, words, and other visual elements can be used to evoke specific feelings in people? All of this should be taken into consideration when looking at the design of your brand. Additionally, your brand identity should promote your business goals and clearly communicate your company’s overall message.

2. Brand Awareness

There’s no denying that a solid brand identity will increase brand awareness. With a focus on brand awareness, it’s important to create an identity package that has your brand at the forefront of all marketing materials. The more places your brand is featured, the more it will be seen by consumers, and the more memorable it will be.

3. Consistency

Establishing a brand identity allows you to create a consistent message across all platforms. From font choice and colors to choice in wording, each piece should feature the same style and design elements in order to create a cohesive branding package.

4. Separates You From the Competition

Differentiating yourself from the competition is an obvious reason to establish a clear brand identity. A professional, distinguishable brand design will help you reach potential customers in your market and not get lost in the mix.

5. Trust & Loyalty

This is arguably one of the most important reasons to have a clear brand identity, if not the most important. Consumer trust and loyalty are earned not only by exceptional products and services but also through an established brand identity. It allows consumers to make a connection between a product and the company. You might have a great product or service but without a clear brand identity across major platforms like your website and social media, it may be difficult for consumers to find you, connect with you, and lead others to you.

There you have it. Brand identity is crucial in establishing anything mentioned above. If you’re looking to create or revamp your brand identity, get in touch with us! We work with clients to establish a brand design that accurately reflects them and their business. From logo design to website development, and everything in between, we can help! Contact us today.

Why You Should Be Taking Advantage of User-Generated Content

Are you taking advantage of user-generated content (UGC)? If not, it’s time to start. Read on to learn more about UGC and how to take advantage of it.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is any content – text, images, videos, reviews, etc. – created by individuals rather than brands.

If you’ve ever taken a picture of a latte from your favorite coffee shop, uploaded it to social media and tagged the coffee shop, you’ve created UGC.

Consumers are promoting a brand through original content rather than the brand promoting themselves. Taking advantage of the right opportunities lets consumers do most of the work for you – creating conversation, generating product interest, and even revenue.

How does this happen?

Because consumers trust original, user-generated content more than traditional advertising. Put simply, your audience would rather hear from your customers than you.

After all, 37% of consumers trust social networks for their pre-purchase research making user-generated content invaluable at winning over prospects.

People Trust People, Not Brands

This isn’t to say your audience won’t eventually trust you. The difference is that with brands, trust is earned. With people, trust is pretty automatic.

Check out these stats:

  • Around 80% of people say user-generated content has an impact on their purchasing decisions.
  • 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations over all other sources of advertising.
  • UGC ranks higher than other forms of marketing content like promotional emails.
  • 64% of Gen Z and 60% of Millennials stated they didn’t buy from an e-commerce store because the site didn’t feature customer reviews, testimonials, or images.

There are plenty more stats that could be listed, but you get the point. People trust people.

So, what are the types of user-generated content you should be taking advantage of?

1. Photos and Videos

Visual content tends to pack a bigger punch than written content because it shows potential customers what they can expect without physically inspecting it themselves.

2. Testimonials

If you’re already collecting customer testimonials, you’re halfway there! No matter the product or service you’re selling, testimonials from actual customers can go a long way in reaching potential buyers and boosting sales.

How do you get testimonials if you aren’t already?

  • Reach out to past customers who are happy with your brand. Ask for a short paragraph on how your product or service has helped them.
  • Send customer feedback forms after every purchase.
  • Check out the comment sections on social platforms. Take screenshots of comments favoring or complimenting your business and ask permission to share them.

3. Reviews

Encouraging reviews is a great way to take advantage of UGC. Reviews are similar to testimonials but are shared on directories like Trip Advisor or Facebook business pages.

89% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. With that said, utilizing reviews is a great way to increase trust, authenticity, and sales.

Motivate Your Audience

Since UGC comes from your customers, you need to find ways to motivate and incentivize them in order to collect the content you need. You can do this in several ways, including:

  • Add a share or tweet button on your after checkout page.
  • Encourage customers to take a screenshot and share it to their social media and tag you.
  • Share a call to action, brand hashtags, and social media handles.
  • Reach out to customers a few days after purchase asking them to write a review.
  • Send out feedback forms.
  • Incentivize customers with a prize.

Once you have user-generated content to work with, share it in places where people are more likely to interact with your brand.

  • Social media posts
  • On your website
  • At your physical location
  • On product packaging

Start encouraging and taking advantage of user-generated content, and remember, always ask permission and credit the original creator. As always, if you have any questions or aren’t sure how to approach UGC, don’t hesitate to reach out. That’s what we’re here for!

Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

In this new digital age, brands that neglect to take advantage of social media are missing out on a key digital channel for consumer engagement. When you consider the reach and influence social media has, it’s easy to see the value in it. Social media can offer an impressive return on investment (ROI) by helping brands gain valuable consumer insights and boosting other marketing efforts.

Now that we’ve established the importance of social media, how do you know which platforms are right for you? If you aren’t sure, keep reading!

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Check out our 3-step guide to determine which social media platforms work best for your business.

Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience

The first step (and one you cannot skip) is identifying your target audience. When doing so, you want to be as specific as possible. Consider the following questions:

  • What age groups are you trying to reach?
  • Are your customers typically men or women?
  • What is the income level of your audience?
  • What type of occupations do they have?
  • What is your audience interested in outside of your product or service?
  • Where are they located?

Answering these questions will help you build a profile of the type of consumer you’re trying to reach.

Don’t be afraid to dive deeper! Consider some of the more personal characteristics of your buyers, such as their behavior, lifestyle, values, and personality – doing so will help you further define your ideal customer.

Quick Note: You can have more than one target audience. You can have a different marketing message tailored to a different audience for each niche.

Step 2: Define Your Goals

Once you’ve pinned down your audience, it’s time to define your goals. As a business owner, your main goal is most likely to drive sales by attracting new customers, and while there is nothing wrong with that, there are other creative goals to consider. Some businesses use social media to increase brand awareness while others use it to develop relationships with potential buyers or to offer customer support.

You can approach social media with a singular goal or get as creative as you want. Before committing to anything, try brainstorming a list of ways you’d like to use social media for your brand. And if you find yourself overwhelmed by the brainstorming process, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Step 3: Find Your Audience & Choose Your Platforms

When you find your audience, you’ve most likely found your platforms. Sounds simple enough, but finding your audience takes time and requires an understanding of all the major social media platforms out there.

Quick Note: It’s important to note that you don’t need to hop on every platform you find target consumers on. You’ll want to look at where the majority of your audience is and how they use that platform.

To start, you’ll need to look at the demographics of the users on each social platform. You’ll also want to look at how active your audience is on that platform. For example, while young Facebook users may have profiles, you’re more likely to find them over on Instagram or TikTok. Besides demographics and engagement, you’ll also want to consider how people use the platform.

Below is a guide that goes into detail on some of the major social media platforms out there. Understanding these platforms better will help you find your audience.

FACEBOOK

Facebook currently has roughly 2.9 billion active users each month. That’s double the population of China. The majority of people use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and build relationships. This makes Facebook an excellent platform for building loyalty with your existing customers.

Some of the tools Facebook has to offer:

  • Paid Ads: Right now, the average cost per click (CPC) on Facebook is less than a dollar. A low CPC creates opportunities for branding and driving traffic.
  • Messenger: Facebook messenger is a great way to offer customer service and support. A Facebook survey found that more than 80% of U.S. consumers message a business to ask about products or services and about 76% do so to get support for a product or service.
  • Closed Groups: Create a community and drive engagement with your audience.

TWITTER

Twitter is a great platform for increasing brand awareness. Twitter is especially known for the use of hashtags, which facilitate conversations around a single word or phrase. Searching hashtags will allow you to see what people are talking about and make it easier for you to create tweets that take part in the conversation. Twitter is also a great way to update your customers in real time. Special event coming up? Let your audience know on Twitter!

Some of the tools Twitter has to offer:

  • Live Tweets: Branded hashtags can be used to share news, updates, and sales with your audience.
  • Conversation: By using a branded hashtag, you can start conversations with your audience.
  • Customer Service: By using direct messages, customers are able to communicate with brands to address concerns about a product or service without it reaching the public.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is becoming increasingly popular, especially among the younger generations. Instagram is different in that it relies on photos and videos for conversation. This makes Instagram a great platform for virtual-based businesses, like food, retail, beauty, and art. With half as many users as Facebook, Instagram doesn’t have as much noise making it a great platform for generating leads.

Some of the tools Instagram has to offer:

  • Stories: Using Instagram stories is a great way to reach your target audience and engage with them in a new way.
  • Storytelling: High-quality photos and interesting captions make this channel excellent for telling your brand’s story.
  • Less is More: All you need is one quality post a day, whereas other platforms, like Twitter, require several posts a day.

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is known for drawing in older audiences. In fact, it boasts the largest group of users among ages 30-49. What also makes LinkedIn unique is its narrow focus on professional networking and job hunting. This makes LinkedIn a great option for B2B lead generation, networking, and recruiting employees.

Some of the tools LinkedIn has to offer:

  • InMail Messages: Reach out and advertise to users who may find the need for your products or services.
  • Sharing Blogs: Get acknowledged as an industry expert by writing blog posts that share your expertise.
  • B2B: LinkedIn is the ideal platform for connecting with other brands.

Other major social platforms include TikTok, YouTube, and Pinterest, but the ones we touched on are the most popular for brand development and marketing for the majority of businesses.

Following this 3-step guide will help you choose which social channels are the best fit for you. But if you still aren’t sure where your business fits into the world of social media, get in touch with us. We can help you identify your target audience, define your social media goals, and ultimately find the right social channels for your business.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you meet your short- and long-term social marketing goals.

5 Online Marketing Trends for 2022

You read that right. How is it already 2022? Don’t ask us. But it’s here, and it’s time to talk about what’s trending in terms of marketing. While quite a bit has changed in the last few years, much has stayed the same, including some of the trends we’ll be talking about today.

Since time is moving at a supersonic speed, we won’t waste any more of it. Let’s jump in!

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1. Content Marketing Still Reigns Supreme

Quality content has always mattered. And with more people online than ever before, it’s even more important. When considering content, remember these key points:

· Your content is often someone’s first impression of your business.

· Your content can make or break turning a lead into a customer.

· Your content must clearly state who you are, what you do, and how you can help.

Your content should be more about the person reading it and less about you. After all, people are coming to you for help with a problem they have. It’s up to you to tell them not only why you’re the one who can solve their problem but also that you understand their problem.

Another thing to consider is adding a blog to your website. Well-written blog posts can be the crème de la crème of a good content marketing strategy. Think of blogs as a way to directly connect with your audience in a casual, relaxed manner. No pressure. No selling. Just sharing valuable content with your audience.

2. Less is More

This one piggybacks off content marketing because not only does it apply to your entire digital marketing strategy, it also applies to your content.

In terms of content, quality always trumps quantity. While your website should still have a decent amount of content, it shouldn’t be filled with keyword-stuffed, meaningless jargon. Make sure you have well-written, enticing content with thoughtfully used keywords.

And when it comes to your entire marketing strategy, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin across too many channels. This usually leads to low performance or a poor return on investment. Instead, you should focus on doing fewer things better. Give more to less. Marketing experts can help determine which channels make the most sense for your unique strategy.

3. Short-Form Video Marketing is a Must

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We’re seeing consumers become increasingly interested in short-form video content. This is likely from the well-known social app, TikTok, exploding in popularity in the past few years. If you haven’t been utilizing short videos in your marketing strategy, now is the time.

Long videos are a great way to explain more in-depth information, but if you’re looking to boost brand awareness and expand your reach, shorter videos are the ticket. Short-form videos will get the attention of your audience and keep them engaged longer.

In order to maximize your reach, we recommend both professional, short-form videos used for SEO purposes as well as laid-back social media video content.

Ask us about our short-form video marketing services.

4. Branch Out on Social Media

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It’s 2022, and most of the world is on social media. It’s a great way to reach new audiences and keep your customers engaged – that is if you’re using it right. Posting to your Facebook page once a month with a ‘TGIF’ post just won’t cut it. From Facebook stories and giveaways to Instagram lives, there are plenty of new things for you to try this year.

5. Take Advantage of User-Generated Content

Not familiar with user-generated content? UGC is any form of content, such as text, images, videos, and audio that has been posted by users on online platforms like social media. It’s one of the most effective social media marketing tactics you can use to engage your audience. This is, in large part, because people love to feel heard, especially when talking about a brand they admire.

User-generated content helps your brand seem relatable to people. More so, it helps people understand why existing customers love your brand so much.

Invite customers to talk about your brand on their personal pages, and reach out to those who have tagged you in posts. Always request permission to share others’ content on your page before doing so. User-generated content is an easy way to get content for your brand and also lets your customers know that their experiences matter. Be sure to encourage and utilize customer reviews too!


Ready to pull in more leads this year? We’re ready to help! Online marketing is kind of our thing, and we’re always ready to talk strategy. Contact us today to kick off the new year with a dynamite online marketing plan.

New Year, New Marketing Plan

We’re rounding the corner to another new year, and with each new year comes new goals, ideas, and plans. As a small business owner, now is the time to look at your current marketing strategy – is it working? If your company’s marketing strategy isn’t working like you had hoped or hasn’t been touched in years, it’s time for a change.

Where to Begin

When thinking about your current marketing strategy, you’ll want to look at things like your website, social media, SEO, and ads. If you find that your website looks exactly like it did when you opened your doors, then it’s time for a refresh. If you aren’t as active on your social media as you’d like to be, it may be time to consider the help of marketing experts. And if you aren’t familiar with the term SEO or haven’t run any ads for your company, now is absolutely the time to see what a digital marketing agency can do for you.

No-Cost, No-Obligation Digital Marketing Analysis

We’ve talked about this before on the blog, but we’d be remiss not to mention it again. First off, we know that most people are wondering what the catch is with words like no-cost and no-obligation. Well, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. There. Is. No. Catch. Never has been and never will be.

As we mentioned in our first blog post, online marketing is fickle, and not everyone is able to keep up with the latest marketing trends and strategies. Many business owners think their marketing efforts are paying off, when in fact they’re not. We’re in this business because we want to see small businesses succeed. We want to see their hard-earned money pay off when it comes to marketing efforts. But in order to do this, we first have to show businesses what their current marketing strategy is or isn’t doing for them. How do we do this? Through a no-cost, no-obligation digital marketing analysis.

What’s Included?

An analysis report, listings scan, and website audit.

  • The analysis report includes an overview of keyword searches related to your business and how often you show up with each search in your local area.
  • The listings scan outlines how accurate your business information is listed across 100+ directories.
  • The website audit summarizes your website’s current SEO strategies and their performance, as well as how well you rank on search engines.

After meeting with a consultant to go over these reports, you’re more than welcome to keep a copy. This information is yours for the taking. We do these analysis meetings to offer you real time information. And our only hope is that you’ll take action if action is needed. After all, you deserve to know that your hard-earned money is paying off when it comes to your marketing strategy.

Without a doubt, people are searching online for what you have to offer. Wouldn’t you want to know if your business shows up? Aren’t you curious how you stack up against your competitors? We can tell you that and so much more. With no strings attached.

Why Not?

There’s nothing to lose by agreeing to a no-cost, no-obligation analysis. You either walk away with free, valuable information about your current marketing efforts or you choose to pursue professional digital marketing services. Either way, you can feel confident in knowing what’s best for your company.

If you’re ready to set up a digital marketing analysis, click here. All we need from you is your business name, address, and contact information. And if you’d like to learn more but don’t want to meet with a consultant just yet, click here. You can run your own listings scan – just like the one we’d prepare for you. This scan will give you a glimpse of what would be discussed during an analysis meeting.

We’re ready to talk when you are! Contact us to learn more.