How to Utilize Holidays for your Social Media Campaigns and Inspire Engagement!

How to Inspire Engagement on Social Media During Holiday’s and Special Events

The holidays can be a time to make an emotional connection with your audience and social following and inspire engagement on your platforms. This isn’t just limited to holiday’s though, it is important to stay up to date with current and ongoing trends within your niche or industry to capitalize on them. If there is breaking news in your industry be at the forefront and publicize it or use it for content creation in addition to any scheduled content your business intends to push this week. If there are social justice issues occurring around and it’s appropriate for your industry, use that as well to generate content to inspire greater engagement. Just make sure it is tactful and take into consideration of any backlash that may occur.

To put this tactic into action do  some research into your current followers and see what types of content they share. Spend some time researching their profiles and keep an eye out for trends. That doesn’t mean creep on your audience and stalk them be professional but dig deep. Do some secondary research as well utilize Google and see what sort of issues are currently trending within your niche or industry that your audience may be interested in.

Fortunately, there is an awesome tool for this called Klout. Klout will give you notifications into what is popular and trending within your industry so you can save time searching for content. If that isn’t enough buzz sumo also provides some pretty great insight into trending topics you can reshare as well throughout your social platforms. Let’s not forget another great content tool Google! That’s right Google is great for finding meme’s and hunting down other content to share throughout your niche as well. If you’re particularly handy with the adobe creative suite you can make some pretty neat visual content pieces as well.

So how did this work out in my case? Well, let’s take a look.

Sample PostI was at a bit of an advantage as I am a part of the niche group I am currently targeting. I am a Native American and as such I am aware of social issues surrounding headdresses being worn as a decorative pieces. I knew from current news, events and my own personal dislike for headdresses being used as a decorative piece that this post was highly likely to resonate within my social platforms. Of course performance does depend on the social platform you choose to post on as well. I know from previous experience and research that Tumblr is a hotbed for social issues so beginning on that platform was a no brainer.

Roughly after 30 minutes or so of posting my content piece was picked up and shared a number of times. So let’s take a look at how it performed.

Social Shares

The content piece had been picked up and reblogged an astonished 387 times in the course of under a day. This was impressive considering the small following I had. Before even posting the piece I only had roughly 70 or so followers. This is a good tactic to spread your reach and increase engagement across your platforms when used tactfully. It is important to understand your audience prior to utilizing this tactic and be able to anticipate any potential backlash.

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How Killer Customer Service can Improve your Business

Customer Service 

Money

I know there is a lot of talk about the importance of customer service and I think people generally take it for granted. Customer service can make a business, turn shoppers away or turn them into loyal consumers. Think back to when you are walking through Harris Teeter and you can not for the life of you find flour to bake with. So you ask an employee where the hell the baking goods are and guess what? Not only will they tell you where it is with a smile they will walk you down the aisle to where the flour is located and make casual conversation. This is great customer service they stop whatever they are doing at the time and help you find what you need so you can get in and out quickly… fairly quickly. I can not say I get the same level of service at a food lion or a Walmart.

It is this level of customer service that allows businesses to charge a higher price, inspire a greater level of customer loyalty or even win over new customers. For example, I recently purchased a domain from godaddy.com and had no intentions of using them for web hosting. I intended on finding a free web hosting platform to host the website I was in the process of building, However when I called them the customer service rep was very professional and friendly. I had a few technical questions he was able to answer quickly and I felt confident if I had any issues I would be able to quickly resolve them through godaddy. The free webhosting site didn’t have the same level of customer service or a 24/7 help desk. I was not comfortable saving money and getting myself in a bad situation as a result of it.

Another great example of customer service is the vape shop I tend to frequent more often than I would like to. The reason why I go out of my way to give them my money is simply put because of their customer service. I dont feel like I am simply making a purchase I feel like I am visiting friends when I walk in. I usually end up spending 15 to 20 minutes in the shop at a time talking to the owner and other workers. This level of customer service keeps me coming back and has turned me into a loyal customer. The loyalty rewards card doesn’t hurt either.

If you are a small business owner strive to have consistent and solid customer service and treat your shoppers like guest. This will give you a competitive advantage that is not easily replicated. In an increasingly competitive and sometimes automated world that human element can sometimes be all it takes to give you that competitive edge.

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.

“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) 

 

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

Design work update!!

So I have been working and improving a lot of my design work and here is an update of some of it.

 

Jordan Lowry Business card set2

 

Custom Business card
Custom Business card

 

Custom caption
Custom caption

 

RHS dalia llama meme

The perfect fit banner

benjamin franklin meme

Content Marketing

Most recently I have noticed a huge shift in the way some companies have began to market their services and ideas. Content marketing is now king. No longer is traditional advertising an effective means to market their products or services. We are constantly bombarded with commercials and marketing messages all the time.

Fortunately there are some companies who understand this and have differentiated themselves from the competition. Two companies who really stand out when I think about content marketing are Copyblogger.com & Marketo.com . They offer free e-books and How to- books that their specific target market may find useful. While reading the book they carefully insert ways their company can assist in accomplishing these tasks. Towards the end of their books and articles they always have a call to action as well.

I decided to modify this approach and offer free logo and graphic designs to companies. I make connections and generate “leads” and take the chance to offer digital marketing services or further design services. Thank you so much copyblogger.com

 

marketo logo

copyblogger

Jiffy Lube

I forgot how important customer service is for a company until recently. I visited a Jiffy Lube to get my oil changed and regular maintenance done on my car. I previously had a bad experience at a Jiffy Lube prior and I have not visited one since until this day. Jiffy Lube not only changed my oil but the on duty manager took the time to explain the recommended maintenance and explained other issues thoroughly about my car. They even went the extra step and vacuumed my car out as well. The management was extremely informative, helpful and outgoing. I believe the company had a major restructuring done recently. Needless to say a company should never skip on their customer service program. I did not even mind paying the expensive price to get my oil changed.  Jiffy Lube went above and beyond and gained another customer.

A Surefire Way To Get Yourself Noticed Through Non-Traditional Marketing

You’re walking through Boston, right along the Charles River. Maybe you’re on your way to your first class of the day, or making the commute to work, and you come across something unusual: A strange light board depicting a pixelatedcreature waving around his middle finger. What do you do?

A Bomb Scare Shuts Down Boston

For many, the answer was to call authorities, under the suspicion that there were bombs placed all around downtown Boston. It can’t be said that these colorful boards didn’t garner attention.

This is, while extreme, a prime example of the kind of guerilla marketing stunts that get companies attention. The objects were placed around Boston to promote the channel Adult Swim, and the release of a film based on their popular adult cartoon, “Aqua Teen Hunger
Force”.

More traditional forms of marketing both old and new are used by every company in some form or another. Every traditional avenue from newspaper to television, to internet marketing, a form that is becoming more and more common for companies as the digital age hits its prime. It is because of this that companies find themselves struggling for a way to differentiate themselves from a pack of other marketing campaigns. Non-traditional marketing techniques such as these guerilla style publicity stunts have become one way to get yourself known.

I was lucky enough to be living in Boston at the time, and was able to witness a bit of the panic myself. The cops had closed down certain areas, so the “bombs” could be carefully investigated. The two men placing the light boards were arrested for causing a public panic. While this is an extreme stunt with a rather extreme outcome, it can definitely be argued that the shows ratings were better for having been promoted in this way. In fact, I would argue it put “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” on the map for many people.
In fact, what was supposed to be a black horse in the box office did make a respectable $5.5 million in gross domestic earnings, thanks in part, to its very non-traditional form of marketing.

Publicity Stunts- Why Risk It?

While I don’t recommend “causing a public panic”, I do see value in getting people’s attention, and non-traditional marketing techniques such as guerilla marketing campaigns can be a great way to do so. Even though the two men’s arrest in connection with this campaign was an unforeseen consequence, it also increased awareness of the film by being one of few campaigns to become a story covered eagerly by every major news source in the country. Those who can be creative enough to pull off such attention-grabbing stunts are likely to see a steep rise in awareness, and for some it is indeed a risky, but smart move.

The Dark Knight Rises Defaces Cities Everywhere

The Batman film franchise performed a similar, but more interactive campaign by painting white, bat-shaped graffiti in cities all around the world. The film’s advertising implored eager fans to find and tag, through social media, every one of the Batman marks around the world in order to unlock the full trailer for the film. Not surprisingly, the fans were rabid enough to have the clever puzzle unlocked within a few hours. This campaign mixed the traditional forms of internet marketing (through social media participation), and the non-traditional through their use of scattered world-wide bat graffiti. This campaign proved that while a more common form of marketing such as social media marketing is an important method of promotion, it can only become stronger through the use of non-traditional marketing campaigns in conjunction.

The social media interaction that the film’s marketing department experienced was only further proof of the effectiveness of grabbing the attention of people in a non-traditional way. The film made over $1 billion worldwide, which are numbers you just can’t argue with.
These kind of stunts may be risky, but for many they result in the spread of a kind of brand awareness you really can’t buy. So from a marketing perspective, I urge you to be creative with your campaign– both through traditional and non-traditional methods, the goal of your marketing campaign is to grab attention.

Try not to get arrested, though.

 

*The credit goes to Article Alley