Let’s not kid ourselves. Telling a compelling story about your business or brand on social media is exceptionally difficult. Social media posts—with their character restrictions and limited screen real estate—are not ideal for expressing brand promises, values, and philosophies with any real detail or emotional impact. This is why many marketers supplement their social media strategies with a content marketing strategy as a means of including long-form content. Thankfully, the major social media platforms recognize that this issue exists, and have taken strides to incorporate content formats that are optimal for telling better brand stories. This article will discuss three such content types:
Brainstorming sessions are frequent happenings at marketing and advertising agencies. Poor brainstorming can lead to weak ideas and wasted time. Practicing proper brainstorming techniques is crucial for marketing agencies to produce top-of-the-line content and ideas for clients, and that is exactly what we do at Brand & Mortar.
In general, brainstorming is a creative problem-solving technique that requires the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the participating group. There are three key factors that help the brainstorming session head in the right direction, which include:
- A clearly defined question
- The right resource group
- Divergent and convergent thinking
Facebook advertising can be tricky. With so many targeting options and so much data to analyze, for the uninitiated it can be a difficult puzzle to solve. Luckily there are a few things to make your journey into the advertising and marketing business a little easier.
Facebook offers a number of preloaded and selectable behaviours to target. For example, if you’re designing a campaign for a travel company you may want to target people who have recently used a travel app. And guess what, Facebook allows you to do just that. Combine this with broader targeting and you have the potential to reach an audience you know is already interested in escaping on a jet plane, not sure of when they will return.
Try running your ads in specific hours of the day. It is no secret that there are peak hours of activity when it comes to Facebook. Between the hours of 4-11 PM traffic steadily increases. Now think about how you are spending your budget. Would you like to be spending money in the hours of the day that aren’t active? Not only will your carefully constructed campaigns reach fewer eyes, they are also less likely to be clicked on. Next time you are setting up the campaign length check the option to chose the hours in which your ad will run. Targeting different time zones? Don’t worry about it, Facebook accounts for that shift accordingly, only delivering your ads in the hours specified in each time zone.
Data. Collect all your data. Look at it, love it, break up angrily with it, and get back together. You’re going to have that sort of love-hate relationship with the piles of data that stream in off your Facebook ads. The only advantage is, if you know what you’re doing, they can be easier to read than your significant other. It isn’t a quick process, it will take time, but once you have an understanding of what the data is saying you can use it to better position future ads.
These are only a few ideas for how to optimize your Facebook campaigns, there are many more, and much more detailed outlines you can find elsewhere online as well, but these should get you thinking. Here’s to better ads!
Snapchat is becoming extremely popular among celebrities, tech-savvy moms, and teens who need another social media account to keep them occupied. But, Snapchat has been on another level lately, as they are sending their app to an alternate dimension in the world of marketing.
Recently Snapchat lenses have exploded, and face swaps and rainbow tongues are becoming viral content across other social platforms. Snapchat lenses are really revamping the boring selfie we’re all sick of. Yes—we get it, you’re a good looking model on Instagram…*sigh*. But, Snapchat lenses turn your selfies into face-altered characters, creatures, and comedic videos. Boring model meets creepy Easter Bunny—I like it.
How do these lenses work?
Snapchat lenses are animations that overlay your selfies to create fun, creepy, or wacky effects. If you’ve always wanted to know what you’d look like as E.T., the alien Snapchat lens will fulfill your freakish fantasy.
To use the lenses, you have to:
- Open up the Snapchat app;
- Touch the screen, holding your finger on your face;
- Swipe to select different lenses; and
- Take a picture or record a video with the lens of your choice.
Now these are the steps to use the free lenses, but you can also purchase different lenses if you’re looking to change your selfies up even more! Lenses cost $0.99, but there are free ones added daily—so be sure to check the app regularly for new lens options.
Face swap is a relatively new feature on Snapchat that allows you to swap faces with your best friend, your lover, your family member, or even that painting at the museum. Face swap videos have been going viral lately, so get on board and see what funny swaps you can come up with!
Millions of people are already using these Snapchat lenses, and the big brands are noticing. In the media, Snapchat set-up a Super Bowl sponsored lens for the big event this year. The results are in, and the lens received over 100 million views! But, apparently, these lenses are pricy. Sponsored holiday lenses are said to be $750, 000, which is an expensive advertisement. But, the possibilities for brands are limitless. Big brands can create their own custom lens, which will be used to augment their customer’s selfies around the globe.
So have fun with Snapchat lenses today, and take advantage of the lenses that are available now, because they’ll disappear in no time. Snapchat is truly changing the face of marketing and advertising.
Ever since the internet was young and innocent, advertisements have cropped up as a way for brands and marketers to get access to the huge amount of people logging on every day. The pop-up has served as the bane of many an internet user’s existence, popping up in more and more frustrating situations and in greater quantities. Nonetheless, users have revolted and used ad-blocking softwares to dispel the efficacy of “traditional” internet marketing — namely, the pop-up window.
The era of the pop-up advertisement is all but dead,
and it has everything to do with ad-blockers.
What is ad-blocking?
Simply put, ad-blocking is the process of eliminating any and all advertisements on a webpage — especially those that show up as third-party plug-ins (think “pop ups” or banner ads). This results in pages loading faster, because ad-blockers essentially refuse to load advertisements on a given webpage.
Why are people attracted to it?
It appeals to common sense that users would want the fastest, most distraction-free browsing experience. Using ad-blockers reduces the “white noise” of traditional advertisements encroaching upon the content users want to access. If users are this adamant about not wanting to see advertisements, it speaks to a collective lag on the part of brands to provide compelling and engaging content to get people to listen and engage with their online ads.
When done well, advertisements don’t have to be “white noise.”
What can brands do to counteract the rise of ad-blockers?
The rise of ad-blockers for traditional users, with Apple recently releasing ad-blocking as part of their overall software package, has petitioned companies to market in more profound ways; Companies are now tasked with creating compelling, engaging, and user-centric content. Users are playing a greater role in advertising, rejecting ads that don’t reach them in a way that asks them to participate and be involved in a brand’s “process.” Therefore, companies need to re-focus their marketing strategies on co-creation, user involvement, and overall engagement.
Besides creating more compelling content, what else can be done?
Creating great content is one thing, but there also needs to be a well thought out and executed distribution
strategy for your brand’s content. If you simply create it, it is not a guarantee that consumers will flock to your brand. Developing a robust digital strategy is imperative for any company’s success in an ad-blocking online culture. This means utilizing mediums, strategies (SEO), and resources to reach people where they reside online.
Ad-blockers are making traditional forms of advertisement more difficult, but it hasn’t rendered the entire practice of advertising online as dead. Companies are now being asked to be more creative, to create content which exceeds expectations, and taking residence in places that users wouldn’t normally find them — but are using anyways. There are places to advertise, if your company is doing the right job in seeking them out.
Chances are if you’ve been on Snapchat in the past year, that you might have noticed the opportunity to scroll (left or right) on your ‘snap’ and add filters — images which lay atop of the image you’ve just taken, often designating where you are, events in your area, or general advertisements.
What are geofilters?
Snapchat geofilters were originally released in July 2014, and since then they have gained a significant amount of popularity. Snapchat actually crowdsources the submissions for prospective geofilters, allowing users the opportunity to ‘rep’ their neck of the woods. This approach emphasizes the ability to design, contribute, and witness your work in action (should it receive approval).
Why use geofilters?
First and foremost, geofilters are a great marketing strategy for companies. Millennials are flocking to
Snapchat in droves, and they represent an attractive demographic for marketers and companies alike. Simply put, it pays to be where the young people are most active. In addition to this, there are multiple locations which provide geofilters — with more being added every day. Miami, Oakville, and even Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood have their own unique geofilters. Geofilters are popular because they are unique to specific locations, that they are “exclusive” to certain areas makes them attractive to users.
Why are geofilters so popular?
From a big-picture perspective, geofilters allows users to identify with their current location. Users have the opportunity to share with their family and friends where they are, what they are doing, and what is going on in the world. Consider it one large social experiment in the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), where people share what they are doing so that everyone they know can acknowledge it and share back what they are doing. Companies are even able to create time-sensitive geofilters to market events, holidays, or social events.
The next time you’re on Snapchat, no matter where you are in the world, swipe right or left to find out if your location has a geofilter. Soon enough you might be embarking on your own personal scavenger hunt to discover as many unique filters as possible. Happy hunting!
The concept of influencer marketing isn’t necessarily new; brands have been using celebrity endorsements for years to convince people to buy their products (think Stephen Curry on a box of Wheaties, or Matthew McConaughey driving a Lincoln). The recent twist in this landscape is the rise of various social media channels, and the influence they have on a company’s brand strategy. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and recently Vine are being used to target consumers and promote products and services through more nuanced influencers.
A site like Vine is the perfect example for a more complex influencer landscape. The nature of the medium (looped six-second video clips) and its rising popularity — specifically with millennials, is attractive for brands and consumers alike. Taking advantage of Vine is understanding the unique relationship between influencers and consumers, based on the following:
Consumers are often frustrated when being “forced” to sit through advertisements to get to the content they desire (it’s often painful that a 30 second YouTube commercial can feel like an eternity). Vine’s strategy is developing content involving the product itself, and recruiting influencers to develop and brand that content as their own. The influencer and the product are often one and the same.
The “Average Joe” Advantage
Vine is often seen as an equal opportunity app, where anyone can become popular and influential online. Seeing everyday people using products, and promoting their advantages, is extremely attractive to the average user. Not only do they relate to the “regular” people on the screen, but they trust them more than a “paid” advertisement.
Creativity is at a premium on Vine, where there is only a short amount of time to communicate an idea. When companies are able to partner with influential users, they are also gaining advantage of those users’ unique perspective and ideas. It’s a win-win for interesting concepts, and for product placement.
Based on these ideas, Vine is being used more and more as a tool for company’s in their marketing strategies. Vine is implementing a strategy based on trust and relation — seeing yourself with and relating to the people you see on your screen. This form of trust is priceless for many companies.
The Young and Aspiring
Career advice for young aspiring digital marketers is like a gourmet block of fine cheese imported from France for mice. As more graduates enter the work force each year and digital marketing is moving at the speed of light, often the roles that new graduates are applying for are redefining their qualifications and needs every day.
As a young digital marketer myself, working in the industry has really made me appreciate those who are always challenging the landscape and coming up with new and inventive ways to make our industry even cooler. Lately I have been scanning through LinkedIn like I would have with Facebook 5 years ago, I’ve found that becoming a young professional has changed my interests from “what you did on vacation” to “what is Twitter, Airbnb, and Snapchat doing now?” Lately I have been making some great connections over LinkedIn and Twitter with like-minded individuals who love to share content about up-and-coming trends in social and where mobile is heading next.
Career Tips for the Socially Connected
Connecting and communicating with all of these great contacts has lead me to some amazing career tips from seasoned pros in the field that have truly inspired me. So to all those entry-level, digital savvy warriors out there thinking where do I start and is it just me- take it from me everyone has struggled and there is no defined path to success. But with the Internet, proper hashtags and a lot of hard work and determination, you can reach your goals.
Here is some great advice that I have found online lately through my personal social sphere:
- “If you want something then do it. Everything you have learnt through your education will play its part. Nothing is wasted, just a part of the journey”.- Vanessa Harvey @VYogaLife
- “BE PERSISTENT! It took me 9 months of interviews with 3 different resumes and 4 different managers, a presentation and multiple phone calls to land only a 3 month contract. But I was doing work I was passionate about so it was worth it”. –Trevor Ellestad @trevorellestad
- “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal; you have to go for it. But it takes hard work and dedication and you might not always get what you think you deserve. It doesn’t matter. Handle yourself with professionalism and remember that in business, your personal brand is your greatest asset. Mind your reputation and the rest will come.” Aliza Licht @AlizaLicht from Leave Your Mark
- “The straight and narrow is not the only path to success”.- Sophia Amoruso @Sophia_Amoruso from #Girlboss
- “A day off, doesn’t have to be an off day”- Kendall Cramm @kcramm93
Do You Emoji?
Emojis- you either love them or you hate them. You either use the fiesta dancing girl every chance you get or you are still stuck in the early 2000’s and send :-(. Whether you are pro evil monkey face or against it there is no denying that emojis have become an integral part of the internet culture and an important way for people and brands to express themselves.
The marketing industry is calling this “The Emojification of Brand Advertising” where pictures speak a thousand words and the best way to connect with the highly sought after millennial niche is through fun graphic emojis. Brands are using emojis to communicate with Millennials and more recently Generation Z, a market that has grown up in the social, mobile and digital world.
Brands on Emojis
I have noticed the biggest using of emojis in company e-mail marketing campaigns. With more email clients accessing their email from their phones, emojis in the subject line is an easy and smart way to attract a reader’s attention. According to data from Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, 2% of B2C emails now contain emojis in the subject line, and email delivery vendor MailChimp says that 214,000 campaigns have been sent with emojis.
I have also noticed an increase of large emoji cut outs showing up at concerts and Halloween parties but more recently they have appeared on the side of Pepsi cans. Pepsi has now added emojis to the side of its cans in order to celebrate 40 years of the Pepsi Challenge and are hoping to sell you on a feeling, such as “grinning face with smiley eyes” emoji instead of the sugary beverage inside the can.
Emojis have become so popular with brands that a sub industry has been created that includes a plethora of platforms that create personalized branded emojis, stickers and GIFs for brands. Brands like Ikea, Coca-Cola, Burger King and even Snapchat have created their own custom emojis in order to resonate better with their audiences.
A professor at NYU’s school of journalism put the using of the emoji the best when he said, “Emojis are doing what the tone of voice did on the telephone and what gestures, tones and facial expressions did in interpersonal communication”.
Emoji Global Communication
Emojis have the potential to cross borders and break through language barriers. Thanks to smartphones, the entire keyboard of emojis have become a universal form of communication and gained acceptance worldwide. Brands now have the capability to communication with the world with a simple smiley face, and it has become crucial for marketers in the digital space to learn how to speak emoji.
Experiencing a Micro-Moment
Google recently broadcasted a live stream via YouTube on a digital trend they are calling “Micro-Moments”. As mobile becomes even more of an indispensable part of our everyday lives, Google is noticing a way in which people are using search to making purchasing decisions, especially on their smartphones.
There are thousands of moments in a day that typically start the minute you wake up and check your phone, that is when your micro-moment journey begins. Whether it’s checking the time, the weather, sending a text, scrolling through Instagram or quickly looking something up online each of these interactions with our phone are mini-moments where we are choosing to turn to our devices and act on something.
These moments have the potential to become “game changers” for marketers, but they have to be quick. Research suggests that consumers in their moments are more loyal to their own needs than to a specific brand. That being said it is even more crucial for brands to be following SEO best practices on their websites and taking Google AdAwords seriously. Consumers are making decisions faster than ever and are finding information to their needs in even shorter spurts. Long gone are the days when a consumer would wait to get home to research a specific topic, they are living in the moment so to speak and turning to their smartphones for results. Will your brand be among the top search results when a potential customer is having a moment? This is now something you should be thinking about and planning for in your marketing strategy.
The purchase journey of customers has become fragmented into micro-moments. People’s expectations are higher than ever and expect immediate results on the things they want right away. Recent research shows that “Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.” (via Think With Google)
So how can marketers stay ahead of their consumers and capture their attention during these micro-moments? Follow these suggestions:
- Identify the micro-moments that matter the most to your business. Whether that be to attract consumers into your store or to purchase your product online, what are the micro-moments you need to win over?
- Deliver on Needs in the Moment-optimize your content to fit these moments. Ensure that information is bite-sized, easy to consume and visually stimulating.
- Measure Results- the key to any marketing initiative is to measure the results and determine if the outcome was worth the time and money.
A great quote that seems perfectly fitting for this new model of marketing is “living in the moment could be the meaning of life”, or in this case the meaning of hearts, minds, and dollars won.