Creating the Consumer Experience Through Social Media

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The past few years have led to a transition in the marketing industry. Detached advertisements are no longer successful. The millennial generation is focused on receiving an experience rather than the product itself. This result has lead to a transition towards an interactive customer experience. Marketers must focus on relevance, context, and effective delivery.

Social media is one platform that is growing in this industry. Consumers feel engaged by social media interaction. The objective of a social media strategy for many businesses is to increase the reach and visibility of their company. The challenge involved with social media, is creating a customized platform.

Find your audience:
It is tempting to follow what is trending in popular culture and jump on whatever platform is being talked about the most. Maximizing your social media use means choosing those platforms and practices that suit your core business strategy. Utilizing analytics can help you discover your target audience. Pages with a larger following can be a great source. Connecting with their page will give you exposure to the following built by that page. Joining group and community pages with similar interests will allow you to reach potential audience members. Location, interest and demographic are key in building your target audience.

Create your platform:
There are several social media sites that may suit your company’s needs. Facebook may be the largest social media platform, but Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram have the highest growth rates. Each site has its benefits. If your target audience is an older generation, and followers seem to have a long attention span for content than Facebook may be the best site for you. If you have a younger following who seeks a constant connection than Twitter and Snapchat may be better routes for you to pursue. All social sites provide you with management insights. This information is very valuable as it allows you to see what is most effective for your page. Focus on what is already successful for your company and try to build where you are weak.

Grow your following:
Social media isn’t a place to advertise your products or services 24/7. The key is to engage your followers. Your sites provide a platform for providing your prospects and customers with useful and interesting content. Engaging with them in two-way dialogue is what will drive your success. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule; 80% of your content should be helpful information and the remaining 20% can be of a promotional nature. Showing you are involved with others and in the community is key. Publicize your social presence, show your support to others and the more likely your page is to be given support. Engaging with influencers and the social community can also help boost the following of your page. By linking up with other sites, your page will have more exposure. Another way to keep your audience engaged is by offering contests and promotions for your audience to stay involved. People are attracted to interaction and can from there be led to promotion.

Content Marketing on a Budget

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We’re asked all the time what easy, cost-efficient marketing strategies we think are best. We understand the constraints of marketing on a tight budget, and that flashy ads or commercials aren’t always feasible. Marketing at growing your small business is hard, but it’s not impossible.

‘What is content marketing?’ you may ask. It’s simple, really: Content Marketing focuses on developing and distributing valuable content to attract and keep a target audience. And when you’re the authority on a subject or in your industry, you’ll gain leads, which you’ll nurture into customers, thus driving your revenue.

If you’ve started your own business, you obviously know a thing or two about setting and meeting goals and developing a plan. Same concept here. Set some strategic goals and know who your audience is. You want customers to visit your site to view your content, so first you’ll need to give them a reason to visit. Set roles for your employees and designate who will create content for your page.

We encourage our clients to post frequently on their blogs to boost SEO and get the conversation started with potential customers or keep it going with current customers. This is such an easy, cost-effective strategy to get people to visit your site. And it doesn’t have to be boring text all the time. Harness the knowledge your company has shared with simple PowerPoint presentations by turning them into SlideShare presentations and posting them into your blog. Or why not share pictures, gifs or infographics to quickly engage your customers?

Keep your company up-to-date by referencing current events about your industry. Staying knowledgeable about your industry will benefit both your company and your audience. Also, make sure you’re communicating internally with your team to see what potential and current clients are asking. We do this weekly (sometimes more) to understand our clients better so we deliver our best strategies and creative. Embracing this technique can help you not only better understand your customers, but can help develop a forum of frequently asked questions and answers for your customers to reference and show your authority in your industry.

Content marketing can be easy and painless with some simple planning and execution. Need help getting started? Reach out! We’re always standing by to help you with your marketing needs.

DIY Advertising vs Hiring an Ad Agency

Thinking about hiring an advertising agency?

Advertising is a critical component of any company. But if you’re running a small business, hiring an outside advertising agency may seem like a luxury you cannot afford. It’s time to change that logic. You might be surprised to learn that many small businesses use advertising agencies to create targeted advertising to local media at an overall price that is lower than you may think.

There are significant benefits to both advertising in-house and hiring an outside ad agency – there is no one-size-fits-all plan. Some advantages of having an in-house marketing team is that you are able to manage your staff directly and hold them accountable for deadlines and work. Also, your employees are familiar with your products and services, thus making them the best spokespeople for your company. On the other hand, an agency has its perks as well including lower overall cost with the added benefits of software expertise and licensing. Specializing in advertising, an agency is stocked with a talented staff of creative writers and designers.

timemoneyTime: Let’s face it, you’re busy. If you’re running your small business, it’s hard to devote any extra time to advertising efforts. Great advertising campaigns require time and energy, and maybe you or your employees simply do not have the time to dedicate to advertising. If this is the case, outsourcing may be an asset to your company. By taking out the legwork of advertising, you can focus on other areas of your business.

Money: If you want to bring a marketing and advertising expert on board, you’ll have to consider the monetary commitment you will be making to this decision. Although it can be highly advantageous to your company to have someone in-house to handle all marketing and advertising needs, said employee would require pay and the software needed to create advertising materials. Advertising fees may seem expensive and hefty at first, but may less out-the-door than hiring an internal marketing manager or even a marketing team for your business.

If you bring on a marketing professional, you can expect to pay the following amounts, assuming 35% benefits and a 20% bonus yearly:

EXPERIENCE SALARY BENEFITS (35%) BONUS (20%) SOFTWARE ANNUAL COST
Entry $40,000 $14,000 $8,000 $1,200 $63,200
Middle $75,000 $26,250 $15,000 $6,000 $122,250
Senior $120,000 $42,000 $24,000 $20,400 $206,400

Marketing/advertising agencies work on a retainer, hourly, or project basis, with costs that can range from $2,000 to 8,000/month for a professional firm, bringing annual costs to $24,000 – $96,000 per year depending on the amount and type of work that needs to be completed.

targetedadsExpertise: Sometimes, you just don’t know where to begin, and that’s okay. If you don’t have a starting point – or perhaps your previous ad campaigns have flopped – outsourcing your advertising efforts can be highly beneficial. Not to mention advertising agencies are up-to-date on new media and will know what will work best for your business. Advertising companies know how and where to get your message across to target your exact audience. Although your employees are great representatives for your company, it is important to have your voice broadcast in the right channels, which an agency will be able to execute.

What option you choose for your business boils down to is what is best for you and your company.

If you’re considering hiring an advertising agency to handle your advertising needs, feel free to give us a call so we can discuss your options with you further. We’re always here to help!

219 Group Monthly Reports: Decoded

Each month we send out monthly reports to our clients. With that report we provide an executive summary with highlights of the month, a recap of the work 219 Group accomplished on behalf of our client, the plan for the upcoming month, and what it all means. Knowing the meanings of the words we use is important so you can get the most out of the report and understand our plan for your business or brand. Here’s a list of some of the key terms we use often and what they mean:

Rankings: This tab is where you can view where your site ranks in search engines. It’s a third party assessment that displays where your site lands in searches for the particular keyword on the left.

Analytics: This tab is where you can view the analytics of your site like how many hits your site received, the average time spent on the site, the average amount of page views, etc. It also has the percentage of organic traffic, referral traffic and direct traffic.

Organic traffic: Traffic from search engines searches — a user typed in a search term and your site was listed among the results that they clicked on

Referral visits: Traffic that comes from another site. In other words, a link to your site has been placed on another web page or site, people clicked on, it and landed on your site

Direct traffic: This means visitors typed in your web address directly into their browser to reach your site

Backlinks: This tab shows you the other sites that have a link to your website

Social: On this tab you’ll see the social networks we’re using regularly for your brand. You can see the content we’ve posted, how many followers you have on each network, and your engagement level.

As always, if you have any questions about the reports or want more information reach out to your account manager and they’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Digital Marketing: The Boomers & the Seniors

Knowing your demographics is key.

When we sit down with a client to talk about their target demographic there’s usually this preconceived idea that the social media and internet marketing should be geared towards Millennials. But that’s the farthest from the truth. The latest numbers from www.eMarketer.com show baby boomers (age 45-65) spent more time on the web than with any other media, including TV, radio and newspaper/magazine.  And seniors (age 65+), outspent their web time by only 30 minutes of watching TV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The majority of boomer and seniors use the web to look for more information, but 57% of respondents said they headed online to get information related to shopping.

 What this means for you:
You have to deliberately market to these demographic. They’re ready, waiting and available to you. So how do you do it?

-Target online ads:
There is plenty of digital ad space that works to the baby boomers and seniors. Purchase digital ad space on these and make sure the content is catered specifically towards the groups.  The CPC for ads targeting this demo for most keywords is usually still low as well.

-Social Media:
The boomers and seniors are on there to see pictures of the grandkids. Cater ads directed towards them specifically and evaluate their performance

-Tablet/Mobile users:
Boomers and seniors are using tablets and mobile devices at an exceeding rate. Notably, 49% of boomers made a purchase after gathering information via their device. This means that if you can get them to your service or product from their device, there’s a 49% chance they’ll buy. I’ll take that. They way to capitalize on this is to cater and/or provide relevant content for them within your site/advertising.

219 Marketing Analysis: get a tattoo for a 15% pay increase

This week’s marketing analysis includes a simple question: would you get a tattoo of your company’s logo for a 15% pay increase?

Recently we saw a news story that a real estate company was offering 15% pay raise if employees tattooed the company logo on their body. There weren’t any location or size specifications, just that simple: get a company logo tattoo and get 15% more money. That got us thinking at 219 Group, is this a good marketing strategy? What’s to be gained from the company? What’s to be gained from the consumer?

The obvious gains are:
-Exposure: Hello?! There was a news story on the whole thing. That’s how we heard about it. Free press, anyone?

-Advertising: for the rest of that person’s life (unless they have it covered or removed) the company will have advertising. People will probably ask them what it is and they’ll name the company. But it’s not free, because the company is paying the employee 15% more.

-Increase in moral: Someone in our office brought up the point that it’s about the culture of the company. Offering this incentive says: believe in us, and we’ll believe in you. It’s more about the company/employee relationship than the company/client or consumer relationship.

What our marketing experts thought:

“Great for the business, maybe not so much for the employee, who has to live with the tattoo forever, and who knows if they will work there in a year or two, no one knows what life will bring, plus even the most iconic brands go through revisions.”

“I suppose the real question is: are the people that will see this tattoo more likely to use the company’s services? I really really doubt this. People generally don’t inform their decisions based on tattoos…especially re real estate firms.”

“I would do it. I just wouldn’t put it on my forehead or anything, but I have so many already I would have it blend in with another one. For a little bit more money to represent something that you do… it isn’t such a bad idea.”

The point is, the company took very little risk in doing this. Except to ensure they could follow up with the promise of pay increases, there’s little fallout for the company. They could change their logo, re-brand, go out of business… it’s the employee that made a permanent decision.

219 Group’s Conclusion:
In the short term this was good for the company. Easy PR, newsworthy and gets people talking. Long term though, this won’t help them build a loyal returning client base. A real estate firm is only as successful as its agents. Even if everyone is tattooed with the logo doesn’t make them good at their jobs.

What do you think? Would you get a tattoo of your company logo for a raise?

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