Why Companies are Putting Their Marketing Budgets into Social Media

Why Companies are Putting Their Marketing Budgets into Social Media

Remember when traditional marketing was the only way to promote your business? Business owners would buy newspaper ads, billboards, bus stop ads, and drop flyers at every doorstep. Snail-mail promotional flyers were considered high-tech. While some might sigh, longing for the good ole’ days, others are flourishing in the new age of marketing. Today, we have amazing online tools, like social media, to promote our businesses to the exact people we want to. Here are some of the other reasons why brands keep moving their marketing budgets out of traditional marketing and into social media. 

Targeting to the Extreme

How do you target with a bus stop ad? If your target customer is middle-aged men, how can you ensure that demographic sees it the most? You can’t. Targeting in traditional marketing only works if you’re targeting a specific neighbourhood or city. Any further specifications aren’t possible.

Social media and digital marketing have changed the targeting game. You can set the parameters of your Facebook ad to only show up on the feeds of men of a certain age with a certain profession and certain income level. You can even set your ad to target people with specific interests or buying histories. That’s incredible for your return on investment. The money you spend on social ads gets utilized as efficiently as possible.

Analytics are Everything

When you buy a paper ad in a magazine, how can you tell how many people read it? Can you calculate how long most people stayed looking at the ad before flipping the page? No! With social media ads, you can determine both of those metrics. You can count how many people saw your ad, clicked it, shared it, or engaged with it. Then, you can see how many of the people that clicked your ad purchased your goods or services. This is crucial for knowing which ads work for your audience and which get less engagement.  

Reporting for Future Planning

Since your analytics are constantly and automatically being tracked, you can create reports weekly, monthly, and yearly. These reports are amazing for showing which marketing campaigns have been successful and why. You can see the promising trends in your content. For example, you might notice in your monthly report that your Instagram posts that included a person’s face in the image got higher engagement. Or, that Facebook posts that were written in the first person received more comments. By reviewing this month’s social media report, you can plan an even more successful content calendar for next month.

Sure, you can create reports for your traditional marketing campaigns. Before the internet, brands would pump out paper ads for a month and then hopefully see an increase in sales. But, there was no feedback on which specific ads caused the influx or why. Traditional marketing reports are far broader than social reports based on analytics.

It’s no surprise that more businesses are transferring their marketing budgets from traditional marketing to social media marketing. If you’re curious about making the change, contact us.

The Instagram Landscape is Shifting- Here’s What You Need to Know

The Instagram Landscape is Shifting- Here’s What You Need to Know

Three months ago, Instagram rolled out a pilot project in Canada to hide the number of likes on all posts. For mental health advocates, this was a huge win. When you don’t know how many likes your peers’ posts are getting, there’s less to compete with. But, what about the Canadian businesses that once used this metric to determine the success of their campaigns? This change has left marketing directors and social media managers at a loss. With the ever-changing landscape of Instagram, here’s how to keep utilizing this free resource for your business.

Hiding likes have changed the algorithm Instagram uses to organize feeds. Before, posts with very high metrics would be shown to more people. Without likes, how does the algorithm work? Well, no one knows for sure. But, we can deduce that it favours direct engagement more now. That means brands need to focus more on receiving comments, starting discussions in the comments, and encouraging the sharing of content.

Having a solution to focus on takes away some of the stress marketers were feeling. Sure, no one can see the like count. But that seems to be okay because users are clicking the heartless and less. Instead, users are commenting on posts that spark their interests, even if it’s with a simple thumbs-up emoji.

There has been some anxiety over the assumption that Instagram is changing the algorithm to favour paid ads instead of free posts. For small businesses with small marketing budgets, this is worrisome. There’s no doubt that paid ads were successful before, but brands could also be successful without them. Now, it seems you’re better off if you do a mix of both. Some experts recommend making one out of three posts paid. If that’s still not feasible for your marketing budget, experts recommend placing more effort into making posts primed for engagement.

What does that mean exactly?

It means creating posts that spur engagement, like discussions and shares. Treat your Instagram feed like an extension of your email newsletter. The focus is always on adding value to your followers’ lives, not spamming them with sales copy. Does that mean you can’t talk about your products or services? Of course not! Just don’t talk about them in terms of sales; your call to actions shouldn’t be encouraging users to buy your goods. Instead, create content around the purpose of your offerings and the problems they solve. Call to actions should pose questions that spur discussions in the comments or encourage shares. Post content that your target audience wants to read, even if it’s not directly promoting your business.

The learning curve of Instagram for business is ever-changing. The moment you feel like you have a handle on it, it changes. It’s important to be adaptable and committed to learning; get comfortable with rolling with the punches. Instagram is still an amazing resource for marketing if you adapt your strategies to its changes.   

For expert guidance on rolling with the punches and improving your Instagram marketing plan, contact us.   

Why Social Media Takes Time for Business Growth and Success

Why Social Media Takes Time for Business Growth and Success

Social media has changed the game for businesses everywhere. Suddenly, business owners can connect with thousands of potential customers without even opening their doors. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have created space for brands and consumers to socialize and build relationships. These relationships and connections lead to trust, which can lead to sales.  

Unfortunately, many business owners underestimate how long that process can take. The crux of successful social media marketing is networking and nurturing, both of which take time.     

Forging Relationships from Scratch Takes Time

There’s a reason most people don’t get married after the first date. You don’t know the person well enough; you don’t know if you can trust them or will even enjoy spending time together. 

The same thinking applies to social media marketing. 

Why would a user buy something from you when they don’t know who you are, if they can trust you, or if they’d even like your products? For them to answer those questions, they need to feel a connection with you. 

Building their trust takes time, effort, planning, and genuine care. You need to be transparent and authentic in your online presence so they can see who you truly are. The most successful social brands view their followers as friends and part of their tribe.    

Of course, building so many deep connections will take time. Once you put in the work, these followers become loyal ambassadors for your brand. 

Proving Your Value Takes Time

“Add value” is another buzzword phrase in digital marketing. The idea is that providing value to your potential customers makes them value you. It can help them trust you, see your authority, and genuinely like you. 

However, adding value isn’t as simple as creating a free e-book and promoting it on social media. 

You have to think outside the box. Here’s an example. If your business sells Christmas trees, posting about the trees you sell isn’t adding value to their lives. However, discussing how they can save money on decorations during the holidays does add value. Showing how they can help less fortunate families get a tree adds value. Showing them new and trendy ways to dress a tree adds value.

This is a lesson in content marketing. Understand what your target customer finds value in and start creating it for them. Over time, and as you provide more and more value, users will care about what services or goods you also provide.   

Sticking With It Takes Time

Regardless of the algorithm each platform uses, consistency gets rewarded. When you post quality content every day for years, it shows in your engagement rates and sales. 

So, how long do you have to be consistent for?

Social media isn’t a one-and-done marketing tactic. That’s why successful brands hire a social media agency or social media manager to work on their pages full-time. The more content you post, the more chances users have to see it on their newsfeeds. If the content you post each day is high-quality, authentic, and adds value, you’ll gain followers and eventually, increase your sales. 

Plus, consistency shows users that you’re reliable and active on the platform. By being consistent (posting, commenting, liking, outreach, etc.), you create more opportunities to build relationships with users.

For as long as you care about growing your business, be consistent on social media.

If you’re ready to step up your brand’s social media game, remember that success takes time. We can help you improve your social media marketing; contact us to learn more. 

Top 3 Digital Marketing Apps Worth Exploring

Top 3 Digital Marketing Apps Worth Exploring

Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape that can be tough to navigate without the right resources. However, thanks to an ever-growing market there are plenty of companies that work to help businesses create engaging, interesting content. We’ve gone through several programs and resources for you and have selected our top 3 digital marketing apps/programs, focused on content creation and planning, to help you get the best tools for your business quickly!

Promo

Videos are a great way to break up static content and deliver information to your audience, and Promo is a great resource for people who want to create high-quality videos to use for advertising, product or service explainers, and social media content. Their library contains tons of footage, copy and music that you can choose from and edit to suit your own business. There’s also support for various aspect ratios so you can ensure your content looks great on whichever social media platform you’re using. Additionally, the online video editor streamlines the process so that anyone can create beautiful content quickly – regardless of your experience or skill level working with video content.

Story Maker

To give your Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook stories a boost, Story Maker is a great option to expand on and polish your ideas. The app offers a catalogue of 50 templates, stock images, backgrounds, and fonts to enhance your content and create professional stories, with the option to purchase additional resources in-app. Import your high-quality images and take advantage of the options within Story Maker, including unique photo framing options and combination templates, to make sure your stories catch the attention of your audience right away.

Planoly

Designed to make organizing and planning Instagram content easier for users, Planoly is a great multi-tool for both new and experienced Instagram users. The app features a drag and drop grid system that lets you determine how your feed will look before posting, and the scheduling and auto post features ensure that your stories and posts go out to the world exactly when you want them to. Planoly also supports audience engagement with a separate comment section, making it easier to connect with your followers. If you’re interested in tracking Instagram analytics, the app will generate the top five most liked and commented posts, respectively, on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Plus, if you find you prefer working from a computer, Planoly supports mobile and desktop use.There are plenty more apps centred on digital marketing, so if you find that you would like even more options when it comes to content creation feel free to combine our top three picks with your favourite apps! And if you find that digital marketing isn’t something you enjoy doing, or if it’s outside your comfort zone, you’re not alone – it can be a difficult field to navigate. If you need help with content creation and getting your digital marketing plan organized, contact us today.

Authenticity is Key

Authenticity is Key

It’s the buzzword of the year: authenticity. Something millennial businesses have in spades and older generations can’t seem to find the formula for. Consumers today would rather shop from businesses they trust, can relate to, or share the same values as. For companies that were always successful with traditional marketing methods, it’s never been more important to get with the times. How can you be authentic in your marketing?

Storytelling is the crux of authentic marketing. It’s what gives your brand a personality, a history, and a purpose. The contents of your brand story are what make you different from your competitors. In the past, marketing campaigns would focus on products or services. Now, it’s better to use your brand story to explain a problem that we can all relate to. Then, as the solution, naturally suggest your products or services.

Next to having a brand story, the second-best way to market your businesses authentically is to have a social purpose. Look at the shoe brand, Toms. This multi-million-dollar B-corporation connects with socially conscious consumers (i.e. most of today’s consumers). For every pair of shoes purchased, Toms donates a pair to a child in need. Consumers can buy a pair of shoes and feel good about their money also supporting a worthy cause. Toms has expertly crafted their brand story and used their social purpose in their marketing.

So, how can you apply these strategies to your business?

First, you need to do a deep dive into your brand’s mission. Why did your business get created? What problem does it solve? What obstacles has your business faced? How have you overcome those challenges? What is your why? Consider working with a brand strategist to help you craft your story in an authentic and marketable way.

Second, get charitable. Is there a charity or organization your company aligns with and could support? For example, if you’re a women’s clothing brand, consider supporting a women’s empowerment organization. If you offer tutoring services, consider supporting an organization that provides books to low-income libraries. Find a cause that aligns with your business.

Third, be transparent. Be open about your business practices and the ways you’ve improved to be more socially conscious. It’s okay if your company didn’t start as an eco-friendly, fair-trade business. Highlight how you’ve improved, who you are now, and the ways you’ve grown as a brand.

Fourth, get personal with your audience. The face of your business needs to be a face, not a logo. Networking is a major facet of your marketing strategy that needs to be authentic and social media is the perfect channel for it. Give potential customers a real sense of who you are as a brand through your posts, live videos, stories, and engagement. You could post behind-the-scenes live videos, interviews with experts, and success stories (not one-and-done testimonials!). Respond to comments and direct messages like a human, not a customer service bot.

Is making the transition to being more authentic is stressing you out? You’re not alone. This is a challenging obstacle for many brands who’ve always relied on traditional marketing. If you need help developing your brand and getting authentic online, send us a message or give us a call.   

Why Video Content Performs Best

Why Video Content Performs Best

Video content has become an integral part of successful digital marketing, especially on social media. Once considered a side-strategy in diverse marketing plans, brands are now devoting entire marketing teams to develop their video content. What changed? You could say the proof is in the pudding. Video content outperforms all other types of digital content. 

Why does video content perform so well? What makes it shine brighter than images and text?

There are a few reasons. First, in 2018 we saw the emergence of “authenticity” as the most desired trait in a brand. Today’s consumers want to see real, transparent, and human brands with a conscience. Brands that use video can show their customers a more raw and exclusive perspective of who they are. Video is amazing for telling stories, explaining a problem, and demonstrating a solution. A 2019 study reported that consumers prefer lower-quality, realistic videos over highly-edited and top quality ones. To them, the lower quality of video comes off as more authentic and less manipulated by a marketing team. 

Here are some statistics showing the impressive performance of video content:

  • Consumers say they want to see video content 50% more than any other content from brands
  • Saying the word “video” in your email subject line increases the open rate by 19%
  • Landing pages with video increase conversions by 80%

Then, there’s the shareability of video content on social media; it’s the revolutionized word of mouth marketing. 92% of video watchers share the content with their peers. If a brand makes one compelling video that viewers resonate with, it could be shared to thousands or even millions of people. Of course, you shouldn’t create a video with the hopes of it going viral because that would be inauthentic. The point is that doing video content well can lead to an explosion of awareness.

So, what are the most successful types of videos to make?

If you sell a product, demonstration videos are crucial to showing customers how to use it. You should have an easy-to-understand version on your Facebook page as well as your other social profiles. Then, tap into influencer marketing; hire an influencer to do a product demo on their social channels. Next, turn your case studies into video format. These are your success stories that show just how effective your business is at solving a problem. You don’t want to only show a customer giving their testimonial; tell a story. Let the audience get to know the customer and relate to them. Some other effective types of videos are expert interviews, behind the scenes, event promotion, company culture, and vlogs.  

On social media, live videos are the way of the future. Users are already spending three times as much time watching live videos than pre-recorded ones. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there on live video, but you’ll be rewarded with higher engagement and more traffic. Contact us to learn more about video content and how to include it in your social media marketing efforts.