Social Media & Your Business: How to Start a Must-Needed Relationship

Every company needs to have a social media presence regardless if you are a B2B or B2C company. In fact, according to Forbes there are over 50 million business pages active on Facebook right now. That’s a pretty big number, right? It’s also a strong indicator demonstrating how important it is for your company to have (and utilize) social media accounts.

 Let’s think about it from this perspective: you’re trying to decide where to go out to dinner with friends and everyone gives their recommendation. How do you decided? You take to social media and look at the restaurants Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages to see which food looks the yummiest. We’re not alone, according to Zizzi, 30% of individuals would avoid a restaurant is their social media presence is weak. 

 Now, we understand that starting and maintaining social media marketing can be overwhelming (that’s what we’re here for) but we thought we’d give a few basics so you can get your business strategy up and running. 

 Set Up Business Accounts 

There’s a reason why business accounts exist. Under no circumstance should people have to “friend” your business instead, they should like your page. The same goes for LinkedIn, creating a company page creates a much better user experience for your clients to keep up with you without having to send an invitation to request. Business accounts make it easy to add your company’s hours, services and so much more helpful info. Most importantly, creating a business account on all platforms allows you to see insights and analytics to monitor the performance of the account and specific posts, allowing you to optimize as you go.

Use Hashtags (when applicable)

I’m going to keep this as simple as possible and tell you exactly which platforms need hashtags:

·     Facebook – no 

·     Twitter – yes 

·     Instagram – yes 

·     Pinterest – yes 

·     LinkedIn – yes 

When it comes to hashtags there’s a million different studies that will tell you a million different “magic numbers” for the number of hashtags you should use. Truth be told, there is no magic number but we’d recommend going on a site like hashtagify.com and finding popular, relevant hashtags for your business and using those in your posts. Don’t use popular hashtags just to gain traction – it won’t make a different in the long run. 

 Don’t Link Accounts 

Just because there’s an easy-option to do something, doesn’t mean it’s the correct option. This is true of linking your company’s social media accounts. Each platform has their own best practice for how to post and they’re all very different. For example, seeing a plethora of hashtags in a post on Facebook is something that will make your company stand out – and not in a good way. They are not helpful on Facebook because no one is searching for them there, therefore it’s not necessary to use them. However, they are powerful on other platforms! Plus, you want people to follow you on as many platforms as you’re on, so posting the same content at the same time across the board may not be the best strategy.

 Post Enough, but Not Too Much 

Again, there’s no magic formula for how many posts a week your business should be posting but we’d recommend 3-5 times a week on Facebook and daily on Instagram and Twitter. You want people to keep your company top-of-mind but don’t want to drive them away by being in their face all the time. Make sure your messaging and content are relevant and helpful.

  Post Content People Want to See

This seems simple and for the most part it really is. People love to see people so show off your team and add that human element to your posting. People also love to see food, dogs, babies… you know everything that makes people smile. Remember, social media is supposed to be social. So yes, it is important that your posts are on-brand and coincide with your company’s values and goals but it’s okay to have a little fun as well. Make sure your messaging and content are relevant and helpful.

Always Incorporate Imagery 

It’s the norm for every post to have accompanying imagery. Studies show posts with pictures get 650% more engagement. Use social media to show case your work! If you’re a salon, use images that show the newest hair style. If you’re a restaurant, show the specials you’re having that night. Try to entice your followers and turn them into loyal clients!

 So, there you have it, the basic guidelines to using social media as a part of your company’s marketing strategy. If even this guide is overwhelming to you, we should talk. Contact us today for a free social media consultation! 

 

Social Media: Which Platforms Are For You?

We get asked a lot of questions from our clients, but one of the most common is “What social media platform should my business be utilizing?” This is a loaded question and our answer varies depending on the specific client. To give a broad understanding of which platform is necessary for your company, we’ve created a list of quick questions to ask yourself before adding unnecessary stress and work to your life!

7 Questions to Think About Before You Start:

  1. Are you B2B or B2C? Majority of the time, B2B services do not need to have a presence on platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. Conversely, B2C businesses will find less luck on platforms such as LinkedIn. There are exceptions, but really think about what your offerings are and how they can be displayed to users.

  2. Who is your desired audience? Each social platform hosts a variety of demographics. Understanding what type of user is active on each platform will dictate which platforms you should be using.

  3. Are you selling a visual medium? If you aren’t, then there’s a possibility that platforms like Instagram and Pinterest aren’t for you since they’re more visually focused.

  4. What type of content is your business planning on posting? The type of content you have strongly dictates which platform you should be using. If what you’re sharing is predominantly visual, consider Instagram or Pinterest. There is one caveat, all posts should include visuals because it’s just the nature of the post. If it’s something more technical, focus on LinkedIn or Facebook.

  5. What social media platforms are other businesses in the industry using and how are they using it? Find out what platforms others in your field are using to get an idea of what could work well for your own business.

  6. What do you hope to achieve by using social media? If sales are your focus, you need to think about consumer behavior and which platforms will best show your products or services or help you grow leads. If you want to amass a following, then consider what content will help users connect with your brand.

  7. Are you prepared to spend a lot of time or money? Growing your social media either takes a lot of time, money, or both. If you don’t think you’ll have the time to invest or the financial capabilities, then you might want to pass on social media or pass those responsibilities off to someone who can do the dirty work for you.

These general questions should help you gauge your target market and determine which social platforms are best suited to your industry. We’ve broken out the most common social media platforms below to give you a more in-depth look at which one is right for your business.

Instagram:

The algorithm that Instagram currently has in place shows the most relevant content to the most people. For your content to do well, it needs to be something that users want to see. If you’re unsure about whether or not this platform would work well for your business, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your content lend itself to engaging visuals? People want to see pictures of other people, behind the scenes pictures, pets, food, etc. If you are a dentist office or a law firm, you probably don’t need Instagram. If you really want to be a part of a visual platform, then keep things fun!

  • Will you have enough content to create a good rhythm? Posting once a week isn’t going to do you any good on this platform, and it isn’t going to help you gain a healthy following. It’s important to post at least 3 times a week to really see success.

  • Do you have the time to invest in increasing your follow to follower ratio? This is important because a good strategy takes time. If you don’t think you have the time, but still think Instagram is an important means for your business, that’s where we can come in and help.

  • Will you have the time to stay engaged with your followers? Everyone on social media wants quick responses and answers. If you have a platform for your brand, but never respond to requests or questions, you’re creating a bad user experience.

Facebook:

The most recent of Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms focuses on meaningful interactions between users. Meaning that conversations are now vital to having a successful Facebook presence. Therefore, your content needs to be something that will spark interest. When thinking about building out this platform for your business, ask these questions:

  • Are you planning on solely advertising, or are you planning on building & maintaining your presence? Users don’t want to see a sales pitch every time they see something from your page. You need to include content that allows you to build out your brand - show users what your business is all about.

  • Will you be able to build relationships with users? People want to know that your company is invested in its customers. If you can take the time to interact with them and get to know their wants and needs, you’ll be much better off.

  • Do you have the time to turn leads into loyal followers? Gaining followers and turning them into loyal brand advocates is much easier said than done. You can’t just invite people to like your page and expect them to do so and promote your product/services. This takes time and a decent amount of interaction, so if this is something that you don’t think will work well, then it might be best to skip it.

  • Will you have the time to engage with users? Interacting with your followers can take a lot of time. People want to know that you’re there to answer questions or requests. If you don’t think that this is something that your business can commit to, it might be best to pass on this option or hire someone to handle engagement.

Twitter:

Twitter displays content by timeliness and relevance of the post. This way, users are able to see what is most important to them in a timely fashion. This platform is a great way to stay up-to-date with the most current news. Twitter can be a very useful platform, but ask yourself these questions to ensure this tool is right for your business:

  • Do you have enough content to tweet regularly, and potentially several times throughout the day? This is a platform that requires a lot of content to be posted multiple times throughout the day. To do well, what is posted needs to be relevant to your followers, otherwise it will get left behind in the digital black hole.

  • Will you be able to interact with users on a consistent basis? If a user reaches out in some way, it’s important to get back to them quickly. If your business is unable to do this, then you’re not creating a good user experience.

  • Do you have both visual and written content? If there’s too much copy, users might start to pass by posts.It’s good to break up content with a visual component. Gifs also tend to perform well on this platform!

  • Will you incorporate hashtags and trending topics into your content? The use of hashtags on Twitter is very important. It helps show users what’s trending and if you’re not using them correctly, then you might be getting your content to the right people.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn bases their feed off of engagement and the strength of connections between users so that the strongest business content is showcased. This is a true business platform, so you need to make sure that what you’re sharing is of interest to others in your field.

  • Are you trying to increase your number of leads? This can be a great place to find and grow leads! However, users only want to hear from people that could lead to something promising, so you can’t just send out invites and notes to just anyone. It takes time to find the right people to reach out to.

  • Is your focus on B2B interactions? This platform is much less focused on B2C interaction, so if this is your goal then I would suggest utilizing a different social tool.

  • Is your content engaging enough for people to interact? LinkedIn hosts a group of educated individuals who are trying to discover more about their field and the people within it. The content you post needs to be interesting enough for users to want to engage.

Pinterest:

This platform is a little different than the rest in terms of its algorithm. It bases what’s shown off of previous user interaction, so what people see will almost always be based on what they have searched for previously. This platform is a bit tricky, so be sure to ask yourself the following questions before you sign up.

  • Do you have visually engaging content? Pinterest is a visual platform. To do well, you need to have dynamic and engaging images. Otherwise, users will scroll right by without a thought.

  • Would visuals help promote your products or services? If your offerings can’t really be explained in a visual manner, then chances are you don’t need to be on Pinterest.

  • Do you have time to post multiple pieces of content throughout the day? Pinterest is unlike Instagram in the sense that users expect you to post multiple pieces throughout the day. If you have minimal imagery, then this platform is probably not for you.

Social media can be a very confusing area for many business owners. If these strategies seem daunting or confusing, give Elysium Marketing Group a call! We can help you determine which platform is best and what strategies to use to make sure your company is getting the most out of its social media. We can help with a wide range of services, whether it’s a consultation or the creation of a full-fledged social media campaign and implementation. And remember - this is fun stuff! Regardless of the platform, have fun with your content!

The ROI of a Laugh: How to Use Humor in Marketing

A joke is never as funny if you have to spell it out, but in this case we're dissecting a couple of well thought out marketing campaigns that do a great job of using humor.

Purple Mattress

I know it sounds a little funny to use a mattress company as an example of humor in marketing, but it's seriously one of the first brands that comes to mind when this topic is presented. If you've never seen any of their commercials, I highly suggest doing so. They're clever and present some really interesting characterizations. They create a storyline within a short time frame while also providing all of the information needed regarding their products.

One of their more popular commercials is centered around Goldilocks, their expert bed tester. In three minutes she easily explains how the raw egg test simulates where pressure is distributed throughout the body during sleep all while providing hilarious commentary. The information sticks because her characterization is perfect for this skit and the information provided isn't too detailed. Another example of this is their commercial featuring a Sasquatch mother who is fed up with lower-quality mattress toppers. The entire commercial is one continuous joke that sprinkles an appropriate amount of information throughout. One of my favorite lines, which I'm sure others will love is "Other toppers turn your bed crinkly or stiff and they make your mattress noisy, hot, and uncomfortable. Like a Nickelback concert." One-liners like these are abundant and absolutely get the point across that Purple Mattress is unlike the competition. The company truly knows what will hit home for their consumers and uses that to their advantage. 

Denny's

Sometimes it can be difficult to produce content for platforms like Twitter. You only get so many characters and therefore you really need to hit home with the content quickly. Denny's is a fantastic example of a company that is using humor in social media effectively. If you've not read their Twitter feed then I implore you to do so. You will NOT be disappointed!

The majority of their content is quippy and entertaining with useful information divvied throughout. This brand is so successful because their tweets are so incredibly relatable. How many times have you thought about something - THOUGHT, not searched for or even talked about - and seen a targeted ad for it relatively soon thereafter? I can tell you it's happened to me on several occasions. Denny's caught on to this and replied with: "the reason you see our ads so often in because we can read your mind. You think about your ex and pancakes a lot." This is too funny, and way too real. It makes followers interested in their content, so as they follow along with the hilarity they wind up seeing deals being promoted. It seems so casual, but it works into consumers' feed perfectly. Bravo, Denny's!

Anheuser-Busch

Philly, Philly! Need I say more? This was one of the most prevalent marketing campaigns of the year - and for good reason. Anheuser-Busch listened to their consumers and played off of their interests. With Game of Thrones being one of the most popular shows on television right now, Bud Light created a campaign with a series of commercials that mimic the medieval setting found on the show and gave it a humorous undertone.

One example focuses on a man who escapes a treacherous dungeon to come back carrying a case of Bud Light. When another prisoner questions his decision to return, everyone else cries out in protest because they all want their favorite brew. The brand took it a step further when the Eagles not only made it into the Super Bowl, but won. The series continued with the king announcing that "The injury gods threw mud at you, but the perseverance gods wiped you off and patted your behind. So for you, I'll say it only once: Philly Philly." Playing off of the pride of Philadelphia fans shows that Anheuser-Busch understands their demographic and gives us another reason to love this fan favorite.

It can be difficult to use humor in marketing. Sometimes campaigns focus too much on trying to be funny and lose sight of the fact that they're still trying to sell something. It's a fine line, but the call to action and supporting information need to be present and highlighted. Take the lead of these brands and listen to your audience, be relatable, and do what's right for your brand.

5 Product Brands Who Are Killing It On Instagram

Social media has provided brands with the opportunity to be viewed by their consumers in a different way than ever before. They can now get in front of their customers in an approachable way to remain top of mind with every post they share. Here are some brands who are utilizing Instagram to stay relevant to their core followers while also bringing awareness to potential consumers.

 

GoPro – User Content

Everyone has seen an amazing (usually adventurous) video that has been filmed using GoPro. The tech company invented a camera that is built to be waterproof and withstand any damage that would have prohibited that thrill-seeker from capturing their journeys on film for the world to see. Due to the nature of their business, it should be no surprise that GoPro is at the top of this list.

 

What They Do: With 13 million followers on Instagram from across the world, GoPro utilizes their best asset (their customers) to sell their cameras. The GoPro Instagram feed is full of amazing pictures and videos that were taken using their cameras.  Trust us, each picture will give you that feeling of wanderlust that just might inspire you to purchase a GoPro of your own.

 

Why They’re Killing It: User-Generated content! Not only does GoPro show you the best images and videos that were captured by the product they are showcasing but they do it by highlighting pictures and videos sent to them by their best spokespeople, their users. Each day, GoPro shares either a “Video Of The Day” or “Photo Of The Day” where they share posts that were submitted to them on the platform, this not only engages their audience and consumers but also provides GoPro users with an incentive to take that next adventure (with their GoPro) and submit their own footage!

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Moleskine – Brand Aesthetic

Moleskine started by selling their classic notebooks, which are insanely popular (the Elysium team even uses them). The brand has evolved and now carries an entire line of office supplies as well as bags and accessories. The products are high-quality, affordable and even customizable – one reason why this brand has become a fan favorite.

What They Do: Moleskine might not be a company who screams as one you should follow on social media, but I highly recommend giving their Instagram a follow. Their feed is aesthetically pleasing, they highlight their products in a unique way, often by having their notebooks open to beautiful sketches. While you’re scrolling through old posts, you will never feel like you are looking at “just a notebook company’s feed.”

Why They’re Killing It: The real beauty to Moleskine’s Instagram is when you look at their feed in the grid format. Instagram breaks down their layout so you see three photos on each line of the grid. Moleskine takes advantage of this and posts 3 pictures in a row that are complimentary to one another – they’re essentially a picture within their profile which allows the brand to show an image in two different formats to their followers. Scrolling throughout a person’s daily feed they see beautiful pictures of the Moleskine products, but upon checking out the company’s profile they are also treated to a thought out, cohesive feed that showcases exactly what Moleskine is helping their consumers achieves – organization!

 

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Lush – Customer Service

Lush is a beauty and cosmetic brand, priding itself on their “homemade” products that are natural, organic and produced cruelty-free. Their products are colorful, smell amazing and are a hit across the world, so much so that they have gathered a group of followers who have become some of the greatest spokespersons for the brand itself.

What They Do: Lush creates fun products so it is only fitting that their feed is full of beautiful, colorful posts that highlight exactly what their products are made for -  fun. The majority of their feed is focused on their bath bombs, which is their #1 top seller allowing Lush to showcase bright photos and videos of their fun bath bombs. For example, they show a video of their rocket bath bomb dissolving in a tub – SO COOL and makes you want to order 1 (or ten) as you’re scrolling through your feed.

Why They’re Killing It: The true reason Lush made this list of a brand who absolutely thrives on Instagram is because of their comment section (weird, I know) but Lush has a team who replies to every relevant comment on their posts on the platform. This is a huge part of Lush maintaining their insanely loyal customers. Here’s an example: @healthybalancedblonde commented on a post and said “What is this one??? I needed!!!!” Now typically, larger brands would ignore a comment like this or maybe “like” it so the customer felt important but not Lush. Rather, Lush responded that same day tagging the previously noted customer – “This is our ever-gorgeous Tisty Tosty bath bomb, Morgan! – Meghan” Now, not only does this customer feel like they are getting to know the brand they buy from by the employee adding her name to the comment, but also, she took the time to click on the customer’s page and learn her real name. This personalized touch goes a long way and has helped Lush grow to having 3.9 million followers. 

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Halo Top – Exciting, Fun Content

Okay, so who doesn’t love ice cream?! Halo Top Creamery is gaining popularity for being the world’s first all-natural light ice cream, and due to that, supermarkets can’t stock the freezer aisles with these pints quickly enough. Each pint is under 350 calories for the ENTIRE pint and thus ice cream lovers and health-enthusiasts alike are championing this brand.

 

What They Do: Halo Top highlights their product in fun, innovative ways that excite their followers. Let’s be honest, they’re working with one of the yummiest products that automatically provides their consumers with joy. However, the brand consistently highlights their products in new enthusing ways by often incorporating the “ingredients” for the flavors of ice cream. Their captions are also fun, uplifting, and often full of puns which truly fits with the tone of this brand.

 

Why They’re Killing It: Halo Top just gets it, their posts are fun on-brand and they always make me want to go out and buy a new flavor of their product line. They are also masters of new product launches. Here’s what they did before they launched 7 new flavors this month. Each day for a week, the brand posted a picture of an object indicative to the flavor of ice cream that corresponded with a number. For example, on day 6 they posted a 6 made of cinnamon rolls to introduce their new Cinnamon Roll ice cream. Then, on day 7 they posted all 7 new flavors in one group shot. 

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Shinola – Personal Experience

Shinola is a USA made leather company from Detroit who got their start only 5 years ago by selling watches with a goal of bringing American jobs back to the city. Since their start, the brand has escalated into selling high-end leather goods, jewelry and accessories.

What They Do: Shinola shows off their high-end products in a way that truly makes you want to purchase from the company. They utilize the “Link in Bio” feature so followers can easily link out of the app and go straight to the product they’re eye-ing up and make that purchase immediately. This is currently the best user-experience an e-commerce company can provide to their customers on Instagram, and Shinola is executing this perfectly.

Why They’re Killing It: The story behind Shinola is an important piece of the company’s identity and therefore is an important piece of their presence on Instagram. Shinola highlights their team members on Instagram to give followers that personal connection that further allows them to feel as if they know the brand they are buying from. To further expand on showing their identity, Shinola uses #RollUpOurSleeves – throughout their feed you will see this hashtag shared with different pictures and videos. These posts highlight Shinola team members who have gone above and beyond the brand’s mission and brought positive change to the communities in which the members work and live. These feel good, inspirational stories are posted just enough to provide you with that warm and fuzzy feeling but not too often to make it feel overdone.  It shows their consumers that they practice what they preach and truly care about the places where they are building factories to help bring jobs to different cities across the country. 

 

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