Finding Your Brand’s Voice.

All too often I see brands and companies not using their target market’s language when they write copy for their website, post to their social media profiles and structure email marketing campaigns etc. It is pretty easy to fall into the trap of speaking too professional or being dry when writing language or other copy for promotional materials. If you havent already be sure to read my other posts about how to set up a killer social media campaign .

A company recently that has gotten this right as far as their social media campaign is concerned happens to be Ihop they have certainly done their research and know how to speak in a language that engages their target audience. As a result they have generated some buzz.

Ihop brand_voice_2

I think brands can learn a lot from Ihop and other companies doing similar thing in the social media realm. A good way to get started is of course to conduct some research into your audience and what they are doing within their social media profiles and the sort of language they use. This can be as simple as using some sort of free social media monitoring tool to see what users are saying about your brand and looking at the language they use.

For example, if you are a law firm you would use more professional language than a skateboard brand. Essentially it is important to speak to your target audience and engage with them appropriately.

 

Why do Car Dealerships Still Run Commercials on T.V?

Why are Car Dealerships Running Terrible Commercials on T.V?

 

I am generally against most forms of advertising for a number of reasons. First, it is hard to quantify the impact and reach they have on your target audience. Second, there are plenty of other effective marketing techniques to promote a brand or product. Finally, digital marketing makes it much more cost efficient to run targeted ads towards a particular group or demographic unlike ever before.

In particular I am referring to the car dealerships in my area constantly running cheesy car commercials with poor acting or buying radio time and running horrible ads. I know it is important to promote your business and gain some sort of relevance in today’s competitive business landscape but I believe there is a better use of resources. For instance, they could pay the money and have a decent website built with great information and resources for car buyers and set up some sort of inbound marketing funnel. They could have essential contact information on the page and run specials geared towards recent college graduates or students looking for a new vehicle. If a dealership really wants to spend money on advertising they could bid on ppc ads through Google and actually track who views their ads and comes to their website. They could even set up a free Google analytics account and track who is coming to their website and interacting with what on their pages.

I know this is more of a rant as opposed to an actual post, but I firmly believe these businesses are throwing money away. It’s bad enough the car industry is ultra-competitive and everyone is running car ads and radio ads. Don’t get me wrong Im sure some businesses have a digital marketing strategy but I think it is largely overlooked within the car industry as a whole.

Six Free Powerful Tools to Scale Your Businesses Social Media Efforts.

Free Social media tools for small business

As a small business owner you probably have a small budget and cannot afford to hire a digital marketing consultant or some of the more premium social media tools for your small business. As a small business owner you typically find yourself fulfilling many roles in the day to day operations of your small business and sometimes your social media strategies and content marketing campaign can take a backseat.

Fortunately, from starting and running a small online business I came across a wide variety of free social media tools perfect for small businesses. These tools will allow you to spend more time devoted towards the core aspects of your business that generate revenue and streamline the more tedious social media or various content marketing tasks.

hootsuite

Hoostuite is a wonderful tool for any bootstrapped time strained small business. This nifty tool will allow you to schedule out all your social media posts in advance on a variety of platforms. Recently Hootsuite integrated Instagram into the mix so no more manually posting in real time anymore. This tool also lets you add various feeds so you can stay up to date on all your social media events as well.

buzz sumo

Buzz Sumo is a great content generation tool. This website lets you type in your topic or keyword query into a search bar and returns some highly shared content within your niche or businesses industry. This is also a good tool for generating inbound links or finding social influencers who can drive more referral traffic to your businesses website. A good way to utilize this tool is to search for highly shared content and schedule posts through hoot suite for maybe a few weeks in advance. This will free up time for other activities such as possibly generating your own unique content or taking care of other activities related to your business.

Iconosquare

Iconosquare is a create Instagram tool. Formerly known as statigram this program allows you to get analytic data on your Instagram account. This tool gives you insight into who your top influencers are within your niche and gives additional insight into how many followers you are losing and notifies you of new followers. This tool also provides notification of interactions on your Instagram profile as well.  Iconosquare is a free to use social media tool which will allow you to manage your Instagram comments while promoting your Instagram community.

follow liker

While not technically a free tool follow liker is a very inexpensive paid social media tool which will allow you to easily scale your businesses social media efforts. This tool is compatible with Pinterest, Instagram, twitter and Tumblr. Follow liker will automate the process of following, unfollowing, share photos, and like photos all based on pre-determined criteria you can designate prior to running the software program. Again, while not technically a free tool this is a very powerful social media tool perfect for small businesses. This tool will quickly allow you to scale your social media community and keep them engaged better.

Klout

Klout is a free social media content management tool. This tool works similar to buzz sumo in the sense you add your twitter profile to the platform and can research content based on a set of keywords and your niche. In addition, klout will also allow you to schedule content directly from their software platform and specify a time and date to publish your content. Klout also calculates its own score it gives you based on your social media engagement. Their platform also provides new fresh trending content daily on their platform which gets rid of the need to spend a lot of time searching the internet looking for content to share.

Trends

Google trends may not technically be a social media tool but it’s a great resource to see what people are searching for and compare various keywords people are searching through Google. This is however a free tool to use and worth utilizing before writing a blog or publishing original content to see what sort of potential impact it may have once it is published.

As a previous small business owner I understand all too well how valuable time is and how important it is to utilize the proper tools to quickly scale your social media community. Social Media is a wonderful tool to effectively promote your brand cost effectively. If you have not already reference back to my previous post on how to craft a social media marketing strategy like a rockstar. Until next time!

4 Social Media Best Practices to Give you an Edge.

Social Media Best Practices

 

Social Media is still a relatively new marketing tool and is often misunderstood and not used properly. Using social media for marketing is still new in the business landscape. Smaller and medium-sized businesses generally do not have the resources to allocate towards social media or cannot justify hiring someone even part time to do it. Even larger organizations do not properly understand how to leverage their social media platforms to yield their full potential and as a result, they come off kind of spammy and alienate their intended audience.

Social Media’s history dates back to 2004 but using social media for marketing was not conceived as a strategy at that time. By 2006, Twitter and Facebook were two new social media sites that became available to users. Eventually, web platforms such as Tumblr, Spotify, Instagram gradually became available to users as well and quickly gained traction.

Generally, small to medium sized businesses have a hard time grasping how to use social media for marketing and tend to stumble along the way. Here are some social media best practices that will give you an edge against your competition.

Hard sales

Social media is not the platform for companies to use hard sales tactics to generate revenue. It seems difficult for businesses to break this habit. We as consumers do not want to be sold to anymore. Social media is a great platform to promote your company and share relevant useful information but not the place for hard sales tactics. Social media for marketing is more useful as building and deepening relationships with that can be leveraged. A best practice for social media is to leverage the technology to nurture relationships and build connections with your audience.

Consolidate  

Another mistake companies make is trying to be on too many social media platforms. It is wonderful to be on a variety of social sites but it would be beneficial to be on a few sites. It is more important to put out strong compelling content rather than trying to be on 5 different platforms and do a mediocre job. Pick one or two platforms in an effort to use social media for marketing rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Talk less   

It is important for businesses both small and large to realize sometimes it is important to listen more and talk less. One of the main goals of utilizing social media for marketing is to promote a business or service. It is just as important to minimize yourself promotion, at times as well. Just remember the more helpful you are to others the more likely they will be to seek you out for additional information later on. Start asking your customers what they think of your business, why they follow you, what products do they own and you may find out how you can improve your business. A social media best practice is to actively listen to your audience and look for trends among them to leverage for content creation.

You do not need a big budget to appear big  

Sure, companies like Nike, Apple and Coco Cola have a large marketing budget but smaller companies can still leverage social media for marketing to achieve their goals. There is no need to try and keep up with what the big brand are doing. Coupons and giveaways are a great tool to generate engagement and buzz around your brand. Consider developing a promotion and giving away one of your company’s products as a way to drive brand awareness.

In order to do any sort of social media for marketing, there are some important first steps that need to be done for your campaign to be worthwhile.

First, clarify the purpose in starting a social media campaign. It is crucial for an organization or company to understand what they hope to achieve by implementing a social media strategy. I recommend having a brainstorming session with everyone who will be involved. It is also important that everyone is on the same page when the social media campaign does kick off. As a team, it is important to decide whether the campaign will drive brand awareness, generate sales leads or even be used as an inbound marketing strategy.

Next, once everyone who will be involved has decided on the purpose of using social media for marketing the next step is to clarify goals and objectives for the campaign. Like any other marketing strategy, it is important to set clear goals and objectives that can be flexible throughout the campaign. It is important to be flexible and be able to innovate to differentiate yourself from your competition. Some examples of solid goals would be:

  • Drive innovation
  • Create interesting, relevant and shareable content
  • Measure ROI

As a company using social media for marketing, it is important to have achievable, measurable and specific. 

The next step once the goals and objectives of your organization’s social media strategy are addressed it is time to decide which social media platforms to be a part of. Before this step can be done, it is critical to have some sort of understanding of your target audience and what platforms they use if any at all. This could be a great opportunity to utilize your email marketing campaign to ask some questions. Your team can ask what social media platforms your existing customers use. How often they use them and which kind of content they find most engaging. If you ask these important questions, it can save you a lot of headache and time in the beginning. After this step is out of the way as a team pick one or two platforms to utilize at first. If you only have one or two people involved in the social media campaign for your business, it may be necessary to stick to just one channel.

Finally, the last step is to decide on a social media schedule and adhere to it. Mapping out a social media schedule for marketing will allow you to

  • Create consistency with your audience. This is going to allow your audience to know when to expect new content while maximizing your engagement.
  • A social media schedule is also going to allow time to plan for time sensitive content well ahead in the future. This will give you time to develop content for the holidays and other important events.

As an added bonus, there are a variety of free social media tools available to help you scale your efforts. Be sure to do your own research and integrate them into your social media plan.

Keep a balance between promotions and useful engaging content on your social schedule. I hope this is enough to get anyone started on the path to use social media for marketing. In the next post, I will be doing a deeper dive into some of these strategies in my next blog so stay tuned.

“How do I know what my first goal/priority should be with a new start-up”

“Me and my friend are starting a bags and backpacks line. The idea is to make fashionable items for men that travel often. Businessmen, travelers, sportsmen. Of course we don’t have the money to hire a marketing agency and this is our first personal endeavour.

Personally I’ve read a lot about marketing and start ups. I really like it. Subreddits like this one are that pushed me to go beyond my 9-5. I’ve read a lot, like I said, so I know that a successful marketing strategy is based on a specific goal. But what should be my first goal or priority: brand awareness? generate leads? sales?

I guess awareness leads to leads, leads leads to sale; so starting from generating awareness is startingfrom the beginning?” 

 Original Reddit Post

This was a question that was asked on Reddit and I think this is a great time to talk about marketing strategies in terms of bootstrapping for a startup company. More often than not when starting a company the most important aspect is to make sales of course and create brand awareness. Generally the entrepreneur is on a budget and still trying to validate their business model here are some tactics I employed when I launched my own start up Native American clothing line with extremely little funding.

In the beginning I relied heavily on social media to generate brand awareness. Primarily instagram I found it extremely useful for what I was trying to accomplish since in my opinon facebook is too saturated with companies already. At first I would hashtag what I thought were relevant keywords and then incorporated the free instagram analytics program Iconosquare. This program gave me insight into my instagram marketing campaign and let me know which specific hashtags were performing well along with my top followers, best times to post, which types of media were performing the best.

Secondly, once my instagram hit roughly 300 followers I started doing research on how various growth hacking techniques and stumbled upon followliker. This program used bots to crawl through social media profiles based on a set criteria of keywords. This allowed me to grow my instagram from 300 followers to over 1800 people fairly quick. I know this is not a huge amount but it got me a page in a magazine and I was able to funnel traffic to my ecommerce website.

Lastly, I used bigcartel which has several pricing options including a free website as well. This allowed me to sell products for free without a substantial investment in the beginning. I also incorporated google analytics to get greater insight into where my traffic was coming from so I could better tailor my social media campaigns as well.

All in all brand awareness = leads which = sales. You can not get leads without brand awareness at first and social media is a great resource to begin with. I managed to launch a clothing line with a small investment of $300 or so and a lot of hardwork. Anything is possible.

( I would highly recommend checking out Iconosquare and followliker) 

 

What everybody ought to know about a Marketing degree and how to take charge of your education

As I approach my graduation I find myself reflecting on my past educational journey and how my educational expierences have shaped who I am today. I quickly realized that there is a disconnect in what is being taught in the classroom and what I am expected to know. I highly recommend any Marketing student to determine early on what specific direction they want to go within marketing and begin doing research into what employers are looking for.

I found myself one fateful day flipping through job ads on Simplyhired, Indeed and I noticed something concerning. Alot of the entry level positions wanted a marketing student with some sort of technical expertise whether it was graphic design, html/ CSS or some sort of analytics expierence. I realized I had neither up until this point I was under the impression that if I attended my classes and made good grades everything else would kind of sort itself out. Unfortunately this is not true at all.

I found out how wrong I was at my first internship.  I was overwhelmed by a vortex of data, information and digital marketing practices. I was really at a loss and desperately needed training that was never to come. As clique as it may sound if I knew then what I know now I would have taken charge of my self education a lot sooner than I originally did. Here are some resources to get you started on training yourself to be more marketable among your peers.

  1. www.Copyblogger.com  – Coppy blogger has plenty of useful resources for anyone looking to learn how to be a better copy writer.
  2. copyblogger  www.Codeacademy.com– Wonderful resource that allows you to begin your journey into learning how to code.
  3. code academy www.udemy.com – This website offers a variety of courses on a wide variety of subjects. This is a great starting point to learn anything from web development to graphic design.
  4. Udemy The Definitive Guide to Growth Hacking–  “This guide is for entrepreneurs, founders, growth leads, or anyone else who is trying to grow a startup.” This guide may be primarily for start ups but I believe it is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in marketing.
  5. the-definitive-guide-to-growth-hacking Google Analytics- Of course how could I not write a blog and not include google analytics. This is a free resource offered from Google which basically allows users to track user engagement on their websites.

google-analytics

Update: Graphic Design work

Disclaimer: I did not go to school to be a Graphic designer nor do I have any formal training or education. I am passionate about design and have been studying it for some time now.

Here is a recent flyer I did for an organization at UNC Greensboro.

American Indian week flyer

Recent flyer I did to promote an event for my clothing line.

free shirt giveaway

lake scene

Joyrich AW14

+ The Addictions Magazine

Established in 2007 by founder Tom Hirota, designer David Melgar, and brand director Taka Okude; this three man team has successfully managed a strong cult following for brand Joyrich. Combining both futuristic and throwback 80’s and 90’s styles, which are reflected in their latest pop culture inspired lookbook for AW14, the range consists of strong graphics with a slightly more retro appeal (think neon lights and palm trees).

Iconic for its popular following within the music scene, our top pick from the latest range is undoubtedley the Exclusive Beverly Hills Seal Jacket, which is simply so bad its good.

Shop here: Joyrich

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Don’t forget to follow us for more fashion updates

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Post Launch of my start up clothing line *Lineage Clothing*

I developed a concept for a start up clothing line I call Lineage Clothing. It is a Native American owned and operated clothing line paying tribute to Native American design and concepts. I started the company with very little money and through hardwork and a tremendous amount of research I found a lot of very useful tools to assist with the business opertations and production of my products.

  • Instagram- A wonderful social media platform which allows me to showcase my designs and hash tag relevant items to segment my market and determine who may be interested in my products.
    • followliker- while this software is not free it is a one time payment of roughly $49 which allows me to automate my instagram marketing process. Thereby specificying certain criteria the software will go through instagram and like photos based on certain hashtags and follow other users within those similar critera allowing me to essentially mass market sort of.
  • MailChimp- While the advanced version of this software cost money I used the free basic version to structure an email marketing campaign and even though I did not get the response I wanted it wsa a great learning expierence and overall wonderful idea to implement contest and various promotions.
  • Bigcartel- The basic version of bigcartel is free which allows me to showcase and sell the T-shirts I have designed for free. I can even track which shirts get how many clicks.
  • Iconosquare- formely known as statigram this software provides me with much needed analytics of who my top engager’s are and when are the best times to post on my social media platforms. This is not only free but a wonderful and much needed software application I would recommend to anyone.
  • Theprintful- finally possibly the most costly aspect of my company is paying upfront to print shirts. Fortunately the printful deveopled their business around printing to order and offering samples for extremely cheap. This company allows me to offer a diverse set of products with no cost upfront.

So far I have learned a lot from this business venture and look forward to seeing how far I can take it. I recently got offered a spot in a Native American magazine and I am talking to retailers and looking at getting funding to grow my company.

Check out some of my work and be sure to visit my website to show your support : lineageclothing.bigcartel.com

 

Lineage Blackhawks T-shirt

lineage pattern6 shirt

 

Social Media Marketing : Instagram vs. Facebook

As of late I have been trying to determine the best platform to market my start up company. I think Facebook is becoming obsolete for marketing a company on. It is hard for potential consumers to search based on hashtags and allow me to segment my target market clearly.

Fortunately Instagram allows me to add hashtags and it lets my products be easily searchable. This is great for building a quicker following and redefining my focus instead of solely relying on Facebook or Twitter. I think Facebook is great but as of right now it has not gotten me a rapid following like Instagram has right now. Hopefully my following will continue to grow and I can run my kickstarter soon.

 

Lineage logo