What did you spend on marketing last month?

If you could spend half the money on twice the results would you do it? If you’re in the business of growing your business, then the answer is yes.

Then why are small and midsize businesses still spending $2k-$20k or more a month on billboards, TV and local radio when people’s attention isn’t there? Seriously, what’s the last TV commercial you remember, did you buy something because of it? How about the last radio commercial you remember? Billboard?

Unless it was your ad, my guess is you either don’t remember one, or you’re like me and millions of other Americans: you haven’t seen or heard a commercial in the last 2 years because you don’t watch live TV or listen to live radio unless it’s a sporting event.

Flat out, if you are trying to sell to 13-45 year olds on these platforms in the tradional why, they simply aren’t there.

I don’t need data to show you that. You already know that. If you’re being real with yourself, you know that.

Do you know the one place that people are paying attention? Their phones. Young, old, suburban, inner city, women and my 71 year old dad are all spending their down time on their phones. In between commercials they are on their phones. In the car, their phones are connected to Bluetooth and they are listening to podcasts or streaming music.

I’m not saying that traditional media doesn’t work at all. I’m just saying it’s like paying $100,000 for a Honda Fit instead of paying $30,000 for a Ferrari.

Seriously, in 2017 that’s what it’s like.

I’m not kidding! At Good Monster we regularly run ad campaigns on Facebook that literally get lawyers cases, drive retail sales for landscaping companies, help trucking companies get employees. How do we know? Because we can track the data. It’s black and white right there on the paper.

Do you know why they came to us in the first place? Because I asked them how much they were spending on marketing and how much ROI they were generating. Guess what their answer was?

Think about it.

What is someone going to do with a billboard as they are driving by? They certainly aren’t going to “Turn at the next exit”. We all have shit to do.

Nobody watches TV anymore. We’re all watching Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Video. If we are watching live TV– unless it’s the Super Bowl– we are on our phones during commercials.

You might be able to give me an argument with radio, that people are listing only to the radio while driving with no other audio distractions (unless you have kids). The problem is that many of us are not listening to local radio, we are listening to podcasts, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora or Sirius. If you’re hell bent on radio I would encourage you to look there versus local radio, but even a spot on Pandora is expensive, and nobody who is listening will care. They just get pissed off when their music is interrupted by an ad.

So if you read this far, then you probably aren’t in the TV, radio or billboard ad space. By now you would have probably gone back to Linkedin or wherever you found this to start cursing me out. Or if you are, you know I’m right and you might be here because you are looking to switch industries, in which case you should probably go here. If you are in charge of marketing and care about your organization’s cash, then I implore you to go to the place that has the most attention and the lowest cost: Facebook.

HOW TO BUILD A BRAND IN 2017

Every year, new trends emerge that brand marketing executives should pay attention to. The problem is, not many CMO’s, VP’s or Directors of Marketing have the time to read past the headlines and see if they have value. That’s why we have put together this list of questions that brand teams should be asking themselves as we approach 2017.

As the end of 2016 approaches, were seeing that there’s too much focus on content frequency and not enough focus on content strategy. Everyone has bought into the idea that “content is king,” but they don’t realize that content itself won’t mean a damn thing to your audience without having some impact in their daily lives.

A brand can’t expect to grow its’ revenue by simply posting high quality pictures of their products all the time. While this is beneficial for the photography pros out there looking to earn some side income, it’s not a valuable expense for brands without a side of strategy. A quick scan of any social media platform will populate thousands of products following the same exact strategy: hire a photographer to take high quality photos of the product, perhaps in various environments, and cross your fingers that everyone clicks the like button.

This hasn’t worked in 2016, and please don’t think it will in 2017. Frankly, nobody gives a shit. There is already too much content on the Internet and in our everyday lives, we simply don’t have time to stop and smell the roses anymore. A sad tale, but true.

Now, I know there are brands that use design, photography and art to attract their customers – photographers, travel companies, architects, interior design firms – but I’m speaking to the other 99% of brands who are aiming to use content to grow their revenue. For the majority of these brands, relying ONLY on high quality images to the get the attention of a buying customer isn’t going to cut it.  

“So if we shouldn’t be posting nice images of our product all the time, what should we be doing?”

For most brands out there heading into 2017, you have to do a gut check and really look at the actions you’re taking across the Internet. If they are not producing the results you want, ask yourself these five questions and you might just have a revelation:

1: Does every single piece of content you put out have a very specific goal?

Does it make somebody want to buy your product? Does it make them want to share the post? Is it asking them specifically for a comment, or an action? If the answer is not, and you don’t have a reason, then you’re wasting time, energy and resources.

You need to have alignment, purpose and an underlying strategy with all of your content if you want any kind of return on your efforts. If you have someone on your team posting random things happening at your company, for the sake of getting something on Facebook, you’re wasting their (or your company’s) time.

In 2017, make sure every single piece of content has purpose.

2: Does your brand tell a collective story?

Does every single video, image, graphic and piece of content you distribute tell a story people understand? This includes the design of your website, product packaging and TV commercials. If people can’t remember who you are and what you stand for when they see or hear your name, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Right now – whether you are a large company or a small biz – you have an unbelievable opportunity to bring people closer to “buying in” to your products by telling them a story about your brand. Every single place a consumer sees your brand, they are reading a story about you. Are you a bar with sticky floors, stale light beer and a sign with one letter that has been blinking for 6 months? This story doesn’t sound like it will be fun. Are you a bar that has peanut shells all over the floor, big screens with sports playing and a craft beer lineup that goes on for days? This story sounds like a lot of fun.  

Now, if you can distribute content that tells a story about just how fun bar #2 really is, you can win a lot of first time customers. By filming short video clips of fans cheering for the hometown team, or photos taken by friends at your bar, or running Facebook ads that promoting daily specials, your story is being woven.  Post an interview with your owner talking about why she founded the bar, craft your own beer with a unique label that people  will want as a keepsake of memories they had at the bar – maybe they can write on it. There are endless opportunities to tell a great story.

As we get closer to the new year, conduct an audit across every consumer touch point to make sure that you’re maximizing the impact of your story. Seriously, look everywhere.

3: Are you really talking with your community, or at them?

Many marketers and agencies claim that their content “speaks” to their community, but there’s no real conversation going on. More brands really need to get in the habit of talking WITH their consumers rather than AT them. Consumers are smart, and they’re getting even smarter. They know when corporations just want to sell them shit. Use this fact to your advantage. Be more proactive on your social channels to start conversations with them. This includes your customer service departments. Don’t just wait for people to submit a review or tweet a complaint, go out there and be the most engaging, talkative brand in the room.

In 2017 don’t wait to be the subject of a conversation, be proactive and be the one to start the conversation.

4: Does your customer’s happiness come up in your board meetings?

Sure, we’re an ad agency, but part of what we do is help companies realize that their customers are the best marketers they can have on their team. Doing everything possible to make their day special, is usually top of mind for us. It’s the stuff that great marketing campaigns are made of.

Whether it’s including free stuff in your customer orders, promoting a contest that is great for your audience or including free singing phone calls with every 5th purchase – if you think of the customer first, things will start to become really great for you.

One of the all-time best examples of this is Zappos, which notoriously treats their customers like gold. They’ve done it all – sending free products, refunds to customers that didn’t get what they ordered, to setting the world record for the longest customer service phone call at 10 hours, 43 minutes.

Going above and beyond your customer’s expectations in all points of communications is going to be a great differentiator in 2017.

5: Are you paying attention to where people are paying attention?

If you’re selling products and services to 13 to 40-year-olds, your marketing team should have been experts at Snapchat within the first week of 2016 (and maybe even before that). You should’ve been pumping out Instagram stories the first day it was released. Do you know what musical.ly is?

People’s attention is moving from platform to platform, and you need to be there, period. This doesn’t mean that your message has to change. It simply means, by welcoming a new platform to your marketing strategy, you have the opportunity to reach another hundred, thousand or maybe even million people. Trust, it’s worth it in the long run.

If there is one thing that is tried and true, it’s that marketers jump on new opportunities for attention like flies on poo. Speed is one of the major keys to success in marketing, and if you wait until a platform is mature, you will have a much, MUCH harder time making an impact – plus it will be more expensive.  

In 2017, be willing to experiment with new opportunities to have an impact on your customers. Don’t judge it’s potential for success based on past results, judge it based on your own results through the initial experiments.

To sum it up

The goals of just about every company can be summarized pretty quickly: to acquire customers efficiently, grow their lifetime value and convert them into loyal advocates who influence new customers. In 2017 and beyond, create content with a purpose and connect with customers on a personal, 1:1 level to grow your revenue.

Intern Blog: Things I’ve Learned at Good Monster That Will Help Grow My Blog

 

Everyone has those things on their “to do” list that sit there for what seems like forever. You plan on doing them, because you actually want to do them. However, you never take the plunge and get it done. It might be something small like cleaning out your closet. Or it could be something much bigger like traveling to Europe. One of the things that sat on my ‘to do’ list for a while was starting a baking blog. My sister and I have always loved to bake. Free time in our household always results in something sugary and covered in frosting being created. It also results in that sugar and frosting ending up all over the kitchen, and also somehow the dog (Sorry Sophie). We wanted to take this shared hobby of baking, mixed with my love for photography, to the internet with a blog. For months and months we pondered the idea of starting one. We knew we wanted to, we just didn’t know how to go about it. After a lot of research we finally started our blog five months ago in March. The blog is called The Cupcake Chronicles and can be found at www.thecupcakechronicles.com.

The Cupcake Chronicles

It definitely wasn’t an easy process. Starting a website when you have no knowledge of how any of it works can be quite a daunting task. There were hours spent teaching ourselves how to do certain things in the areas of web design, wordpress, plugins and post creation. Five months in and we are still learning new things.

Blogging is a very competitive area. Especially food blogging. There are thousands of websites dedicated to doing exactly what we are now doing. Therefore, it is difficult to get noticed. Growth at the very beginning was slow. This is normal for a new blog. You aren’t going to get attention immediately because no one knows you exist. So, we started spending more time on social media. We set up an Instagram page @cupcakechronicles and still growth on there was slow. We utilized hashtags with every post to ensure people would see us. That led to a few likes and follows, however, it was still a slow process. Soon after, we created a Facebook page for our blog to reach a different audience. On our Facebook page we post links to our blog whenever we add new content. As of today we only have about 100 likes on our page and they are mostly friends we invited from our personal Facebook pages to like the new page.

The actual daily views on our blog have increased slightly over the past five months. On average, we get about 40 views a day. That is not a lot, however, it is much more than we started out with. One thing that has helped has been Foodgawker. Foodgawker is a website that allows users to submit photos with a link to a blog post. If the photos are accepted, they will appear on the site for visitors to see.

Foodgawker

After about two months of having picture after picture rejected, we improved our photography and started getting accepted on a regular basis. This has really helped bring people to our website. Getting one image posted on Foodgawker could bring an average of 200 people to our site in one day.

Things I’ve Learned at Good Monster

One thing I’ve learned at Good Monster in my time here is the importance of social media. Almost everyone is on social media. If you want content to reach an audience, post it on a social media platform. With that being said, there are certain types of media that do well on certain platforms. For example, Facebook is great for sharing videos. Chances are, if you go on your Facebook feed right now you will see video after video being shared. That is because media has shifted away from text and over to more visual means.

As far as social media goes, our blog is present on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook with varying degrees of success on each one.

Pinterest

Whenever we post new content, we share it on Pinterest. There are so many people on Pinterest looking for new ideas. Therefore, Pinterest is critical if you want to get your stuff out there. If you are lucky, someone with thousands of followers will repin one of your links, leading to your pin to be seen by thousands of people. However, that has not happened for us yet. Sometimes our recipes get repinned 20-30 times. Other times, we do not get any repins.

Facebook

Facebook is the platform we are struggling with the most. It has been very difficult to get new followers other than the friends and family we already have. One thing Good Monster has taught me is that you can pay to promote your page on Facebook. This is one thing that we are thinking about doing in the future. Once you gather a decent following, it will be easier to get other followers. Since Facebook is gearing more towards video, that could be one of the reasons our page links do not do that well. Therefore, we are considering adding a video element to our Facebook page. Recipe style videos could potentially do much better.

Instagram

Instagram is the platform where we are having the most success. On average we see a gain of 1,000 new followers a month. One reason for these growing numbers is reaching out to others. Outreach is a very important aspect of growing your business or social media. Most likely, people do not know you exist and they probably won’t find you on there own. Therefore, you need to put yourself out there and let them know who you are. On Instagram we do this by liking and commenting on other people’s images. Oftentimes users will then click on our feed to see who we are. If they like what they see, they will follow us. This has been a very successful practice for us. In addition Instagram has been the most interactive platform. We get likes and comments on a daily basis from our followers. We also receive frequent messages from followers leaving us very supportive and encouraging words. One problem with Instagram is that most Instagram followers just like the visuals of our Instagram feed. They do not click over to our actual blog. This has been a struggle for us.

Moving Forward

There are many things I have learned at Good Monster that I will be taking with me to help grow my blog. Since the outreach has been the most successful method, we will continue to do that on as many platforms as we can. Communicating with your audience is key. It shows your followers that you are there and that you care about them. It helps us build up a trust between us and them. Sometimes we share baking tips with them and other times they actually share new tips with us! The most changes will likely occur on Facebook. One thing we are planning on implementing is more video marketing. People are more likely to stop and watch a short video on a recipe, rather than clicking a link that will take them to another page where they will have to read through a page of text. Maybe using videos will work, and maybe it won’t. However, we won’t know unless we try. Furthermore, we plan to start promoting our page whenever we can. Although some may not want to spend money on Facebook, I believe it is important to spend even a few dollars to help your page reach a new audience.

Intern Blog: Creating Video Content

As an engagement marketing agency, Good Monster prides itself on creating content that is engaging and entertaining across social media platforms. One of the many tools we utilize in our efforts to achieve this is video. The types of videos we create range from funny and ridiculous to more serious and informative. No matter the type of video, the desired outcome is the same. To get people to engage with the video and also with the brand. Whether we are making a 10 minute produced video, or a 30 second Snapchat story or a Musically, a lot of thought and effort goes into the production of the content.

Why Video Content is Effective and Necessary

The things that people share on social media have shifted away from images and over to video. Facebook, for example, has become a major outlet for sharing videos. Many companies are starting to see the value in producing engaging video content on social media leading consumers to interact and follow brands almost as they would a traditional ‘friend’.

Here are a few reasons why videos are effective:

  • The world is very fast paced. Individuals are always on the go, and want to be able to take their media with them. Rather than reading long text, people want to be able to watch or listen to a video while they are doing other things.
  • It grabs attention. Pages of text can often be a deterrent. Some people don’t want to sit down and read something. It’s going to take time, and more often than not, they won’t remember what they just read. According to Replay Science, if a video is available, studies show that 60% of visitors will opt to watch it before reading any text.
  • Videos have a long shelf life. A post on Facebook or LinkedIn typically remains in the news feed for 22 hours on average. This means that after those 22 hours, the post gets lost amidst the sea of other posts. YouTube on the other hand, is active and effective for much longer. Statistics show that the average YouTube video sees 40% of the total video views in the first three weeks. After four to twelve weeks of posting, another 30% of video views come in. Finally, 30% more of the views come in after 12 to 52 weeks of posting.
  • Humans are very visual. Although text can relay a message, there are certain factors that cannot be conveyed as well such as emotion and personality. Video also speeds up the explanation of visual concepts. Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Videos also deliver a 74% increase in a visitor’s understanding of a product or service, compared to pictures, and increase the likelihood of purchase by 64%.

How to Make an Effective Video

Making a video that is effective is not as simple as it may sound. There are many factors that go into creating engaging and informative video content. There are 4 main factors to consider when planning a video.

  1. The reason for the creation of the video. Why are you making the video? Are you trying to sell something? Give information? Or are you simply trying to entertain? Once you determine your reason, you will be able to move forward in a direction with much more focus resulting in the end product being extensively more effective.
  2. The feeling you want to evoke. The tone of the video is very important. Is the video going to be serious and emotional? Or is it going to be humorous? The feeling you want your audience to have while watching the video will decide the tone.
  3. The information you want the audience to take from the video the most. Effectively delivering information is very important. You don’t want your video to be bogged down with information that is not important. Stick to the main points you want to deliver and deliver them well.
  4. Who you are and how that will be conveyed. How do you want your audience to perceive you? If you are a business making a video about the work that you do, or the products that you offer, you want to make sure that you are portraying yourself the way you want your audience to see you.

Content Creation Process

Brainstorming. Sometimes we are creating a short snippet for Snapchat. Other times we are creating longer videos for clients. Regardless of the length or type of video, the process is the same. This is the part of the process where we figure out what kind of video we want to make. We come up with ideas and then determine how we are going to execute those ideas. If the video we are creating is for a client, we first consult with the client to determine what they want to achieve with the video. We can then discuss a timeline and budget. Here are some questions we might ask:

    • Why do you want a video?
    • Who is your audience?
    • What video style do you envision?

Pre-Production. This is the part of the process where we make sure we have all of the equipment we will need to successfully create the content. Some steps include:

    • Creating storyboards
    • Writing scripts
    • Finding locations
    • Obtaining supplies and props

Filming. Once we have hashed out the details, we set up the cameras and start shooting, often times doing multiple takes to ensure it is just how we want it. Some videos can be shot in as little as 5 minutes, while others can take several weeks of planning and shooting to execute.

Editing. When filming you are often left with minutes to hours of footage to sort through. You’re usually not going to use it all. This is where editing comes into play. Our videographer sifts through all the collected footage, makes cuts where necessary and adds effects to make a complete story. Typical actions include:

    • Adding music, effects or voiceover
    • Editing for sound and color
    • Adding titles and text
    • Reviewing project with the  team and getting client approval

Release. Once the video has been reviewed, often multiple times, the video is ready to be released.

Final Thoughts

Like photographs, web design and graphic design, video is a tool used to convey a message without the use of long form text. The Good Monster team works to make high quality videos that are engaging, effective and entertaining to whatever audience we are trying to reach. Some clients want video content, however, they do not know how to do it, or what types of videos to create. The Good Monster team helps these clients come up with a strategy so they too can have video content that reaches an audience. The proven effectiveness of video marketing gives companies yet another tool to use to help grow their business.

 

Intern Blog: Why We Are Focusing on Snapchat

 

What is Snapchat?

In the growing world of technology, social media has become a main stimulant of communication.

  • It provides users with a means of entertainment
  • Allows individuals to stay connected with friends
  • Gives companies a dynamic new medium to grow their business and communicate with consumers

Snapchat is a social media platform that is taking the world by storm. Snapchat was launched in 2011 by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy and is a multimedia platform that allows users to send and receive images and videos to other users. These snippets of information are termed “snaps” and can be edited with text, filters, drawings and effects. Once the snap is opened and viewed for a user determined amount of time, the snap disappears and can only be replayed one time. What was once just an idea for a Stanford class project, turned into a platform with over 100 million daily active users sending out over 400 million snaps per day.

Why is Snapchat so Popular?

Snapchat began with the reputation as the app that allowed users to send risque photos to other people with all evidence being deleted, however, over the years the app has gained momentum and widespread popularity which has lead to its status as a major messaging platform. In the beginning, the app was exclusively used by individuals to send snaps to other individuals. The company has since expanded, focusing more on snapchat stories, which is a feature where users can post images and videos to appear for a span of 24 hours with the important note that snapchat has a time limit of 10 seconds per media piece. This is part of the reason that the app is so successful. It is no secret that people these days, especially younger generations, have short attention spans. It doesn’t take long to get distracted, leaving active minds to wander off somewhere else. The short term nature of Snapchat grabs attention for the perfect amount of time, leaving no room for boredom.

The youth of today are very visual. They thrive on experiences. Snapchat gives individuals a window into the experiences that other people are having. Snapchat’s curated event stories not only show an experience, but create one by allowing Snapchat users the ability to contribute to handpicked curated stories at events that are happening around the world. This gives Snapchat users at the same event the ability to see the event from other people’s’ perspectives, enhancing the overall experience.

There is only so much a Facebook post or 140 character tweet can do to capture a moment. Text requires the individual to envision the moment, whereas a video shows the moment exactly the way it is. Snapchat features such as text, video, images, emojis and drawings have taken all the aspects of other social media platforms and combined them into one. Snaps place you in the moment seconds after it occurred, sparking conversations and engagement.

Why is Snapchat Good for Business?

Along with personal use, Snapchat has gained momentum in the business world. It may seem like a hassle having one more social media platform to manage. However, it can have positive effects on your business if used correctly. Here are some ways businesses can utilize Snapchat.

  • Behind the Curtain Content. Businesses can use Snapchat to provide followers with behind the scenes footage of day to day operations. This helps engage followers, which creates a strong and trusting company-consumer relationship.
  • Offer Perks or Promotions. Consumers love discounts. Establishing special insider deals to Snapchat followers is a way to build up an audience and keep a strong relationship with the followers they already have.
  • Showcase Private Content. Snapchat is set up in a way that allows only followers to view a user’s content. This in itself creates a community. Companies can utilize Snapchat to show followers sneak peaks of unreleased projects, giving followers the feeling that they are involved in the process.

Words from Good Monster CEO John Timmerman

“Snapchat is important for some businesses. If you’re anyone targeting any kind of consumer, doesn’t matter the industry,  if you’re targeting a consumer that’s anywhere between the age of 15 all the way up to 35, then snapchat is a must. Without a doubt”

“What does being on snapchat mean? Being on snapchat means creating entertaining and possibly educational content that is going to relate to people’s needs. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you should be all over snapchat because you can walk through your houses, you can show different rooms. Each section of the story could be a different room. You can tell great stories on snapchat, then you can promote that snapchat story on other platforms and be like ‘hey you wanna learn about the listings in your area? Follow me on snapchat, I do them everyday.’ That would be a killer use of Snapchat”

“Most brands and entrepreneurs aren’t thinking that way. They are still thinking ‘I need to be on Facebook,’ but as Facebook becomes more and more saturated the ads become more and more expensive and the content that goes out there becomes less and less visible. The attention as you skew younger is starting to sway away from Facebook and more towards Snapchat”

What Goes Into Making a Good Monster Snap?

Making a Good Monster snap is not as simple as it might seem. As a company, we don’t want to just create content. We want to create content that is funny, engaging and entertaining. In order for this to happen, there are three main steps that occur.

  • Idea Generation. First, we need to come up with an idea. What type of message are we trying to send? What is the tone of this message? Once we answer these questions we can start brainstorming content ideas. We work together, shooting out ideas and playing off the ideas of others, until we arrive at the most hilarious and perfect idea. From there, we hash out the details and develop a storyline and script.
  • Execution. This is the part of the process where the idea comes to life. We shoot the video (often multiple times) until it comes out the way we want it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. If the idea doesn’t work out as hilarious and perfect as we envisioned, we sometimes have to go back to the idea generation stage.
  • The Final Product. Once we are happy with the result we add appropriate text, if needed, and send the finished snap out into the world for viewing.

Final Thoughts

Snapchat is continually growing in popularity and has the ability to reach individuals around the world, therefore, if used strategically and correctly businesses could benefit from adding this platform to their arsenal of social media accounts. It is understandable why some companies would be apprehensive about taking on another social media account, therefore, the Good Monster team has worked with companies to help make the process easy and effective. Staying ahead of the curve is a great way to continue giving a company an edge and Snapchat is the perfect platform for that.

 

Take Advantage of Instagram’s Latest Update

Instagram announced that it will be changing its news feed algorithm so that consumers will receive content in order of personal relevance, rather than in the order that it was posted by those the consumer follows. You, as someone who uses Instagram, will be receiving content that Instagram thinks you will like and engage with the most. Although we don’t know how the app is going to accomplish this technologically, we do understand that changes like this exemplify the importance of businesses, brands, and people focusing on sharing content that’s relevant to their target audience.

A change like this really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody, as Facebook started the trend years ago by curating content and only showing the most relevant content to it’s users—weeding out the people and subjects that the consumer hadn’t been interested in in the past. Twitter has also adapted a similar strategy recently by deciphering which tweets it believes will be the most relevant to the consumer. All of this content curation comes at a time when we, as consumers, are more saturated with content than ever before, and it’s only going to get worse.

As more people create content, more brands have the opportunity to impact their audience members, and more saturation occurs. This forces platforms to curate that content so that users aren’t inundated with too much information, get annoyed, and end up leaving the platform altogether. How can a business, brand, or person use this information to try to create better content: content that isn’t getting pushed to the side and makes it to the eyes of the consumer? The best and easiest way is simply to ask your audience.

Social media provides the perfect platform to reach out to an audience. If you want to find out what content your audience will engage with and enjoy the most, there are many ways to start the conversation. A simple tweet asking this question might bring about an audience response. If your social media has been slow going thus far, you might have to encourage your audience to participate with a contest. Ask your audience to participate in exchange for a free gift, or run an online survey and select a lucky participant as the winner. There are endless ways to engage your audience, but flat out asking them is the best way to learn specifically what content they will enjoy the most.

Once you find out what your audience wants to hear and see from you and you begin to implement this campaign strategy, you can simply watch the insights, analytics, and data to find out what types of content they are engaging in most and then post more of it. Content marketing isn’t that hard, but engagement marketing is. It takes a deep look inside your consumer to find out what he/she really needs and wants. It takes a lot of time and effort to be able to come up with this content while engaging with consumers all at the same time, but it’s worth it. Companies that invest their resources in building a rock star engagement strategy will win over the next 5 years, 10 years, and beyond, as long as they keep investing and adapting.

Intern Blog: Social Media from the Eyes of a 22-year-old

The more I learn about digital advertising and engagement marketing, the more I hear about the use of social media as a major pathway to reach consumers. There’s talk about which platforms are best for which types of messages, Snapchat’s newfound spot at the top of the social media food chain, new forms of content distribution on newsfeeds, and what this all means for marketers.

I got to thinking about the fact that people like me– young, social media users– are the demographic that marketers are so concerned about when it comes to their research about these platforms. Ironically, most of us Millennials don’t even think twice when it comes to social media usage. We’ve grown up with it since high school. We are so used to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat trends and how to appropriately use each of them that it has become second nature to us. I decided to try to flesh out the way that I feel about each platform and how I post on it and what I look to get out of it, as to better understand what marketers could do here that would interest me:

Facebook: To me, Facebook is still the mothership. Although I may post on other platforms, what I’m doing usually goes onto Facebook as well. For instance, I might pick the most perfect photo from a trip to post on Instagram, but I still post that, along with all of the other photos I took, to Facebook. Facebook is all encompassing—I think of it as a scrapbook for my life. Every photo I take or is taken of me shows up here. Messages that loved ones send me for my birthday show up here. Articles/pictures that I care about are things I share to my wall. My profile picture is more important than an Instagram or photo put into an album—it represents me in a clear way, where as my Instagram and Twitter icons may be silly or artistic pictures. Facebook is the go-to.

-So for Facebook, I’m focused a lot on meaningful things. Since this is all about creating a place (my page) that has to do with me, I’m not interested in seeing ads for discounts or a sale or for shoes. I’m interested in seeing stories, like the new Extra Gum commercial, or HONY posts, or not-for-profits and what they care about.

 

Instagram: Instagram is a place to really show off. Where as on Facebook, one might upload all of their photos, Instagram highlights only the best of the best, and it’s all edited and captioned to witty perfection. Instagram is a place where you do not know anything about the user aside from what they look like, so it’s a little bit more superficial than Facebook.

-On Instagram, I WANT the unnecessary, superficial, treat-yourself ads. I’m already in a mindset about aesthetics after stalking people and how attractively they portray their lives to be: I’m more likely here to be inclined to take a second look at a beauty, fitness or fashion brand.

 

Twitter: Here’s where thoughts really shine. With only so many words and so much time on an ever-changing newsfeed to make a point, Twitter is a platform that reflects intelligence (aside from a funny retweet here and there.) I can only speak on behalf of myself, but while stalking (which we all do, just admit it) I find that I get a sense of someone’s personality best on Twitter. Although Facebook is also a meaningful platform, it is highly centered around photos, and Twitter isn’t. Seeing a series of short thoughts from someone, mixed with what they find important shown in their re-tweets, or what they like shown in their favorites, I find Twitter to be a platform that shows one’s truest self.

-Here’s where I want to see things that encourage me to have an opinion. A survey for what consumers like better. An article about the presidential election. Posts that care about someone’s personality and thought process, not just the way that they look.

 

Snapchat: I’m surprised that Snapchat is thought to be potentially the most successful social media platform at this time, not because I don’t think it’s extremely entertaining and fun, but because it’s kind of a joke to me! Snapchat is where I make double chins and send them to my friends, or where I can take a piece of content (photo or video) and Mystory it even though it would never be meaningful enough to put it on Facebook or Instagram. It’s a place where nothing matters for long, because it’s so soon gone—something that’s not common online or on social media.

-Here’s where I don’t really want to be affected by marketers. When I look at Buzzfeed or Comedy Central mystories I look for cool content and article’s to read that might be promoting a TV show or product, but not outright advertising for it. With Snapchat, I’m just looking to be entertained.

 

Engagement Marketing is Here, Take Advantage

The goals of just about every company can be summarized pretty quickly: to acquire customers efficiently, grow their lifetime value and convert them into loyal advocates who influence new customers.

The social and mobile world has made it very hard to drive that cycle.

Buyers are now more empowered. They have access to a seemingly endless amount of information and they are forming opinions and drawing conclusions way before they even choose to interact with a brand. A study conducted by Forrester’s found that 2/3rds to 90% of a buyer’s journey today is self-directed, happening before buyers interact directly with the brand.

On top of that, customers are hit with almost 3,000 messages per day! This makes it very difficult for a brand to stay top of mind and relevant. If it can’t do that, it can’t grow the lifetime value of its customers.

With banner ads and other messages being tuned out, buyers are now being influenced by other buyers. A study by McKinsey shows that up to 50% of purchasing decisions are influenced by advocates. Clearly, marketing is shifting from the traditional technique of mass marketing and transactional marketing to engagement marketing.

Shifting to Engagement Marketing

We know social and mobile technologies have changed the way marketing is interacting with people. Yet, brands are still using old marketing “schools of thought” with these new technologies simply because “this is how we’ve always done it.” It is time to change.

If today’s digital world has shown us anything it’s that the “click” is only the beginning of a customer relationship, not the end. Marketing has shifted from talking at people or focusing on transactions, to engaging with people – building meaningful, life-long, and personalized relationships.

Engagement Marketing is about connecting with people.

For individuals, engagement marketing means shifting from mass communication to targeted, personal communication. This means understanding a customer’s individual preference, history and relationship with your brand. Persona-based marketing may speak to “typical” buyers, but 1:1 engagement marketing speaks to customers as a single person with their own style, behaviors and set of preferences.

Engagement marketing moves away from demographic marketing to marketing based on behavior. Instead of assuming what a customer is interested in because they fit a certain profile, engagement marketing uses data to tell you precisely who to target, with what and when.

Take Down the Silos

Siloed communications does not take into account the reality of today’s customer moving from email, to Facebook, to blogs, to a brand’s website, back to other social media channels. Engagement marketing shifts this to an integrated marketing approach. It is now about “omni-channel,” not just multi-channel. In order to achieve this, marketers need to create consistent experiences across every single platform, continuing a conversation from one channel or device to the next.

Engagement marketing does not rely on disconnected, point-in-time campaign blasts. What it does rely on is a continuous process. Engagement marketing responds to customers at every stage of the purchasing process and keeps them engaged to the ultimate point of purchase. It constantly flows and every interaction asks for another interaction thus creating a longer chain of events. With this, a customer’s first purchase is just the beginning of their value.

We all have goals right? What engagement marketing does is it moves from unclear objectives to clear customer journeys. Every interaction moves customers further along their lifecycle. Your goal is to move those buyers into the next phase with call-to-actions that are targeted with laser focus.

As marketers we need a measurable impact. Engagement marketing is measurable with advanced analytics and reporting. You can track customer actions and tie them to a specific tactic. With this, you can then optimize going forward and show marketing as a revenue-driver.

Conclusion

With the technology available to consumers combined with the fact that these consumers are always on the go, it’s necessary to coordinate marketing campaigns faster and more efficiently. Tasks that were a “time suck” can now be done in minutes to manage volume and complexity. Campaigns across multiple channels become a coordinated effort and what’s more, engagement marketing allows for total scalability.

Engage & Influence Your Audience

Engagement and Influencer Marketing

It’s a tough world out there for marketers and advertisers – Their job is centered around reach and frequency. They want to get their message out to their target audience in the easiest manner available and for little as possible. Luckily for them, almost everyone has a smart phone and spends the majority of their day using it. It’s easier now than ever for marketers to get their message in front of eyeballs. However, this isn’t always the best route to take – they should be investing heavily with engagement and influencer marketing. 

Marketers can’t just blast their audience with ads anymore. Users have become so immune to advertisements – it’s easy for them to just flip a switch and easily tune out all ads. Not to mention the increasing amount of people using ad blockers. That means wasted dollars for little to no impressions. Marketing and advertising campaigns now have to get extra creative or think outside the box to find a new way to engage their audience.

This is where we start to see marketing campaigns rely heavily on influencer marketing and engagement marketing. Not only agencies but brands are starting to see the potential in these new types of marketing strategies. Tide recently executed a great campaign using both influencer marketing and engagement marketing. They partnered with a bunch of social media and YouTube celebrities to kick off their Tide Challenge campaign. These influencers have huge followings across social media and Tide was able to tap into their audience by working together to create unique content.

The campaign resulted in millions of views for the Tide YouTube channel and drove thousands of people to subscribe to the channel. By partnering with influencers and creating original content, users proactively engaged with the content in a more natural way, rather than being subjected to pre-roll advertising. Tide was still able to increase their brand exposure but without the risk of alienating a potential audience from too many ads.

At the same time, Tide used social media to connect and engage with their audience on a 1:1 ratio. That means every time Tide was mention on social media, a member of the social media team would respond. This level of engagement only helped to increase the awareness for the brand during their campaign.

Businesses and marketing agencies can learn a lot from the Tide Challenge campaign. People are more open and responsive to engaging with a brand if it comes on a recommendation of one of their favorite influencers. You see this happening all across the internet with bloggers, podcasters, and social media stars partnering with influencers to get their message to an audience. It helps if these brands have an active social media presence and work to build a community of their own. Keep an eye out and you’ll soon start to notice many more brands working with influencers to grow their awareness.

 

Intern Blog: A Newcomer’s Perspective on Digital Advertising

In school, you hear the word advertising and are immediately exposed to the big ads that made it. Emotional, insightful, out-of-the-box stuff is presented to you in lecture, and you sit there (as a wide-eyed 19 year old) and decide that print ads and commercials are what you were born to create. You want to make people cry over baked beans. You want to make America NEED the newest detergent brand. You want to be able to use your own wit and intelligence to cleverly make something small into something big and send a message that lasts. That’s exactly what I want to do, and the closer I’m getting to graduation, the more I’m reaching out to people in the business to get my name out there and learn more.

Shocking discovery: professionals I speak to keep telling me the entire ad world is going digital. Yes, we learn about it in class. “Social media is an important way to connect with your potential consumers and start a conversation.” “Everybody is constantly online…it’s the best way to reach a wide audience.” I get it. But I had no idea that college grads were going to digital agencies just as often as they were going to traditional ones. I didn’t know that large, well-known agencies are creating completely separate, digital branches that focus only on that aspect of advertising and marketing. Every successful professional I spoke to went on and on about the importance of digital and that it’s the new thing to do.

This idea was obscure and confusing to me before I started to work at Good Monster. No giant billboards with my funny words on them? No innovative, 60-second spots on TV for the whole world to watch? What’s so great about digital anyway?

Then one day at my internship, I was asked to find and reach out to legitimate businesses to network with. I found myself categorizing businesses as “legitimate” by two standards: 1) what their website looked like and 2) what they had to say on Facebook/Twitter. It was then that I realized the impact that digital marketing has for brands. Digital marketing is comparable to traditional advertising because although the two go about it in different ways, each entity can form the same result: the creation of a brand image and a deeper trust for that brand. Any person well-exposed to the internet knows, within a matter of seconds, if a business “looks legit” from what their website is like within a matter of seconds. Although it’s not that hard to create good looking websites today, a lot of people aren’t taking the time to do it—and that that tells you a lot about their business right then and there. The same goes for social media: before it, businesses would give anything to have a free platform that let them connect with literally everyone in the world. Now, a lot of people who are equipped with this luxury aren’t taking advantage of it in a way that connects them with the public. This too, is a huge sign of what the brand is like on the inside.

With this new exposure to digital, I’m left with a better understanding of the advertising industry in general and with a more open mind for what’s to come.