Best Times to Post on Facebook

Gaining followers and like on Facebook is a delicate balance of content, imagery, offers, and timing. Master this balance and opportunities for increased traffic, engagement will present themselves. New followers and likes will follow.

So, with Facebook what are some of the best times to publish content? The easy answer is “depends on the audience,” but typically we recommend:

  • Between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • And on Saturday and Sunday between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.

However – One thing that many don’t take into consideration is tracking. Tracking is a key part of this process which many users don’t take advantage of. Too many social media posts are made and then are forgotten about only to be left out there to get a few organic likes. You should always track results using data taken from Facebook’s Page Insights, or other social media measurement tools. You may find that your best posting times differ from the times we’ve shared because of a different audience, need, or service you offer.

Facebook boast a whopping 1.65 billion monthly active users. It is the largest social media site in the world. It has a complex, ever-changing algorithm that can one day be mastered only to have to be relearned the next. There are a few basic factors that the News Feed ranking takes into account. When deciding whether to serve a piece of content to a user, the algorithm considers:

  • Who posted it
  • What type of content it is
  • When it was posted
  • What interactions it has

Do Your Best to Post Quality Content

Facebook’s algorithm really comes down to quality. Sharing quality content is essential to not only being shown in News Feed, but having your content appear higher in users’ feeds.

Best practices in regards to quality:

  • Share high-quality content whenever possible
  • If you’re sharing links to articles or blog posts on your website, ensure that they’re quality content that readers will want to spend time with
  • Aim to be informative (in whatever way that makes sense for your business and your industry)
  • When you share videos, aim to choose ones that will resonate with your audience
  • Don’t reuse content from ads for organic Page posts as these posts will likely receive less organic distribution
  • Don’t be spammy
  • An extension of Facebook’s preference for quality content is its ongoing aversion to spammy content.

Best practices to avoid being spammy:

  • Be particular about what you share and avoid content that doesn’t look reputable (such as content that could turn out to be a viral hoax)
  • Avoid clickbait tactics, such as overly exaggerated headlines or ones that withhold key information
  • Avoid encouraging users to take a particular action when they view a post—such as encouraging lots of clicks
  • Don’t like-bait (publish posts that explicitly ask users to like, comment, or share the post)
  • When looking for content to share, watch out for frequently circulated content (photos or videos that have been uploaded to Facebook over and over again) as that’s considered spammy behavior
  • Avoid spammy links, such as stories that use inaccurate language or formatting to try to trick people into clicking through to a website that only contains ads or a combination of frequently circulated content and ads
  • Avoid sharing overly promotional posts as posts that solely push people to buy a product, install an app, take part in a promotion or enter sweepstakes without adding any additional context—these posts will likely receive less organic distribution
  • If you have a third party app, ensure that share settings are set up so that users take an explicit action to share, rather than share implicitly as explicitly shared stories are prioritized over implicitly shared ones

General Advice

Post quality content. Avoid being spammy. What else? There are a few other things to pay attention to when using Facebook for your brand.

General best practices for Facebook Pages:

  • Post about timely topics (when it makes sense for your brand to do so)
  • If it makes sense for your brand, give live video a try—when a Page is broadcasting, its video is more likely to appear higher in News Feed
  • When relevant, tag other Pages in your posts because they may then be seen by a new audience (users who follow the tagged Page)
  • Avoid publishing pure text posts—instead focus on sharing rich media such as links, photos, and video
  • Make sure your Page profile is complete (yup, that matters to how Facebook assesses your Page)

One of the best ways to stay on the Facebook algorithm’s good side is to follow best practices offered by the network itself. Facebook’s media hub offers an on-going series of posts on best practices covering topics such as clickbait and live video.

 

Long and Short Copy: Predictions for the Future

 

Content – Long and Short Copy: Predictions for the Future

One of the longest standing debates in marketing is over what’s better — long or short copy.

The followers of the short copy gospel say that people don’t like to read, especially in the modern age, so there’s no reason to write long copy. They believe that long sales letters and web pages will get ignored and never be read. Instead, it’s better to use pictures and graphics to get customers’ attention.

The long copy faithful, on the other hand, believe that copy is the secret to any sales success. More copy to them means more sales.

Yes, These are both generalizations, but they summarize succinctly the two different schools of copy length. So who’s right?

David Ogilvy is probably the most famous advertising personality there is. He not only built the agency he founded, Ogilvy & Mather, into one of the biggest and most successful in the world, but he also wrote two popular books on the subject: Confessions of an Advertising Man in 1963 and Ogilvy on Advertising in 1983.

In Confessions, he had the following to say on the subject of long copy:

“There is a universal belief in lay circles that people won’t read long copy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Claude Hopkins once wrote five pages of solid text for Schlitz beer. In a few months, Schlitz moved up from fifth place to first. I once wrote a page of solid text for Good Luck Margarine, with most gratifying results. 

Every advertisement should be a complete sales pitch for your product. It is unrealistic to assume that consumers will read a series of advertisements for the same product. You should shoot the works in every advertisement, on the assumption that it is the only chance you will ever have to sell your product to the reader—now or never. 

Says Dr. Charles Edwards of the Graduate School of Retailing, at New York University, “the more facts you tell, the more you sell. An advertisement’s chance for success invariably increases as the number of pertinent merchandise facts included in the advertisement increases.”

In a later chapter, Ogilvy puts an exclamation point on his argument:

“Long copy sells more than short copy, particularly when you are asking the reader to spend a lot of money. Only amateurs use short copy.”

 Content is moving beyond a 500-word blog post. Consumers and B2B buyers simply want more depth and value than short content can provide. Even if your 500-word post does attract significant traffic, it has an inherently short life span.

Orbitmedia’s yearly blogging survey shows that the most successful bloggers are spending more time creating longer posts. The average length of a typical blog post has risen from 808 in 2014 to 1,142 in 2017.

 

These longer posts are attracting more audience attention. The percentage of bloggers reporting “strong results” goes up steadily with the average word count of their posts:

While short blog posts still can serve a marketing purpose — attracting subscribers, promoting thought leadership — the most successful will re-evaluate short-form content as the basic unit of content marketing. Ungated long-form content is vital to meeting audience expectations.

 Content marketing is long overdue for a radical redesign, and all signs indicate the next iteration is already in progress. What content is, what forms it can take, how we amplify and measure it — these fundamental aspects of the discipline are all up for debate. It’s up to all of us to stay flexible, stay up-to-date, and most importantly, keep listening to what the audience says it needs.

 

8 Winning Instagram Tips for Your Business

 

This article was contributed by Mark Velarga.

You have an amazing brand, and you want to maximize your customer engagement via Instagram. But how should you go about doing it?

With over 700 million monthly users, Instagram is a veritable gold mine for engagement, helping businesses to connect with their customers and increase sales without having to fork over a fortune for travel and paid advertising. But how?

The task may seem daunting at first, but with the right plan of attack, anyone can get results. If you’re looking to increase your following, engagement and customer base on Instagram, check out the following 8 steps to build a roadmap for Insta-success!

Create an Instagram Business Account

Phone on Desk

Did you know that Instagram’s engagement rate is about 2.26%? That’s over 2% higher than both Twitter and Facebook! Obviously, there’s tremendous potential on the platform that growing businesses would be foolish to ignore.

So where to start? Like any other successful endeavor, it begins with building a solid foundation, and the first step involves creating a business account.

You have two options: either convert an existing personal account or start from scratch. With a business account, you’ll be privy to business features and free analytics through Instagram Insights (more on metrics later).

Here are some helpful tips for creating a business profile:

  • Complete your profile (Don’t leave unfinished!)
  • Make sure it is public
  • Use business name
  • Upload branded profile image
  • Include a compelling bio statement (update frequently!)
  • Provide a link to your website

Consistency and recognizability are key to success. You’ll want to ensure that your brand’s name, image, products, services, etc. are presented with clarity in purpose and focus.

Make sure that your message is clear and consistent. The last thing you want to do is confuse viewers and lose potential customers.

Remember: This is not about you personally.

Focus on an approach that showcases your company and save the selfies for your personal account.

Establish your business goals from the beginning, and your experience will be much smoother!

Take Followers on a Journey

Phone in Hand Bushes

For most product-based companies, the general practice is to turn to generic product content. Don’t do it!

It’s important to add a bit of personality to your Instagram account. When you know your audience, it can help you develop a narrative, style and tone — this is your chance to share your brand story.

Instead of uploading dry or disconnected content, think of it like a scrapbook. By adding interesting photos and videos periodically, you paint an ever-growing picture your followers can connect with and be part of the journey.

This is not limited to images and video. You can also provide dynamic and engaging captions that appeal to your viewers. This will not only enhance their experience but will increase the chances of them becoming loyal customers.

People are also interested in how products are made. To satiate this curiosity, take them behind the scenes. This can be done through factory tour videos, sketches and diagrams, and anything that you think would be interesting to share. Remember to tell a story that’s fun, informative and provides a glimpse into your company’s inner workings.

By sharing everyday moments in a candid (and sometimes quirky) way, your company will appear more approachable to your followers. This is what separates winning businesses from the rest.

Provide Quality Content

Strawberry Pancakes

A poor image or video can be a big turn-off. If your content is not high-res and interesting, don’t upload it! Great content should be the cornerstone of your strategy. (Of course, if you’re going for a more lo-fi aesthetic, incorporate what best serves your vision.)

Quality, for example, can be developed through thoughtful direction of content, editing apps and positioning. Whether service-oriented or product-based, your content should be relevant to your viewers and convey the focus of your business. Also try experimenting with videos and creative captions.

Another good tip is to vary your product content creatively. This will ensure that your followers won’t get bored. Your audience will thank you!

Whatever approach you plan on implementing, make sure it’s consistent and attracts your intended audience. And don’t go for the hard sell. Ultimately, this will lead to followers who embrace your brand and purchase your products.

Inspire, Connect & Follow Back

Woman Playing with Hair

Many Instagram users love to be inspired. And who doesn’t? When viewers connect with your content emotionally, they will keep coming back for more. Leave behind the cut-and-dry and offer your followers images, videos and captions that truly resonate.

Engage with your customers through commenting and liking other pages, especially when you are starting out. It shows you aren’t just trying to get them to follow you. Go that extra mile, and you we’ll be rewarded with a loyal fan!

The focus doesn’t always have to be on products or services. For example, you can showcase employees, company activities and fun events. Creating this type of environment will help cement your bond and gain trust even more.

Another good practice is updating your bio section. A mistake many users make is to put up a boring blurb, add the company link and leave it at that. What you need to do is update it frequently. It provides the only clickable link, so get creative with its use. Think about how you can drive traffic to promotional events, registration, sales, etc.

The value of the Instagram page is typically measured by the number of followers versus those you are following — the more followers, the better. However, it is essential that you also follow back influencers and others who provide value for your business. This could lead to some great opportunities and collaborations in the future.

Build a Following

Chess People

So, the all-important question: How do you get more followers?

The process is not exactly easy, but with patience and creativity, you can create a buzz that will lead to greater click-through rates and amazing sales growth. Put in the work, and it will be well worth the effort!

Here’s a list of things you can do to build a massive following:

Use Hashtags: Makes it easier for people to find and follow you. Use a mixture of company-specific and universally popular hashtags.

Content Marketing; According to PakFactory, a custom packaging company, one way you can enhance your business’s brand is by creating valuable & quality content. Elevate your expertise and become a guest contributor for other related blogs.

Make sure to have a link to your instagram because if that particular content gets noticed and becomes viral, you might be receiving more followers than you imagined.

Get Mentioned: Instagram offers one of the best ways to spotlight collaborators and customers alike. Share your photos with other notable instagram accounts and get them to mention you. You can also give shout-outs through tagging (@tags).

Host Contests: Everyone loves a giveaway, right? Be creative and have fun with how you present your contests. They will come in droves if executed properly.

Offer Exclusivity and Create Anticipation: Keeping viewers interested is important. Upload teasers and offer your loyal followers rewards in the form of exclusive content.

Collaborate: We all can’t do this on our own. Search out for companies or individuals that align with your mission and create a project together that will help each one’s brand.

Explore Instagram Stories

Typewriter on Desk

What’s better than one powerful image? How about a slideshow filled with dynamic content?

Instagram Stories allows you to string together your images and videos to create even more immersive content that your followers can experience at their own pace throughout the day (all content disappears after 24 hours).

Since this has become a prominent feature, more and more businesses have started experimenting with it. Other than its sheer engagement potential, the feature offers several benefits:

  • Share as much as you want (displays in chronological sequence)
  • Offers text, face filters and drawing tools
  • Provides more dynamic value to your followers
  • Higher discoverability through Story Search
  • Showcase a more comprehensive story
  • Stories are displayed at top of follower timelines

Go ahead, get creative and see what you can do with Instagram Stories! Your followers will be more enthusiastic and want more. It’s an addiction that we can all get on board with.

Post on a Regular Basis

Instagram on Phone

You may one day come up with the perfect Instagram post that garners thousands of likes, but if you aren’t posting regularly, it won’t make a difference.

Consistent content is the name of the game. If you want to grab and hold your audience’s attention, you need to employ content scheduling.

Fortunately, there are several tools that can help keep track of your visual campaigns. These include SchedugramAutogrammerLater and Planoly, among others. If you decide to forgo these options and go old school, make sure that you use a method (calendar, notebook, etc.) that keeps everything organized and easy to work with.

Harness the Power of Metrics

Man on Computer

Let’s face it, if you are using Instagram and want to capture as much value as possible, you need to embrace metrics. Relative to other social media platforms, it can seem like there aren’t as many options in this department. But don’t worry. Thankfully, there are several instagram metrics that can help you figure out what’s performing well and what’s not.

Instagram Metrics

Most people would assume that the number of likes would be the most important metric, but once you delve into the data, you’ll find that comments received is a better signifier of overall engagement. Once you get a feel for analytics, you’ll be able to focus on the information that gets you results.

There are some handy (and free) analytics tools to assist you, including Instagram Insights (through Instagram business account), SocialbakersSimply MeasuredUnion Metrics and SquareLovin.

With these tools, you’ll be able to analyze essential data, not only from yourself but from your competition as well, and improve the performance of your business account.

And there you have it!

By establishing these steps from the beginning, you will greatly increase your chances of success and limit the headaches associated with shoddy strategy. As you become more comfortable with the basics, stretch out creatively and experiment a little. Remember to also have fun while your posting. Good luck!

Get your first 10,000 Instagram Followers

Get your first 10,000 Instagram followers, with this step-by-step Instagram marketing course. Learn how to attract hyper-targeted Instagram followers, convert followers to paying customers and expand your brand using Instagram.

Mark Velarga is the Head of Content & Digital Marketing at PakFactory. Mark is also a self-development advocator for young entrepreneurs & aspiring leaders, as well as a tennis coach & enthusiast. You can connect with him on LinkedIn

Hate Comic Sans?

Looking at the Marmite of the typeface world.

by Thomas Payne

The font everyone loves to hate
Things I hate: people driving closely behind me, noisy eaters, spam email, minimalist hipster posters (another rant/article in the works), automated phone systems and Love Island.

You’ll notice that as well as many other things, Comic Sans isn’t on that list.

In an interview for the Huffington Post, Vincent Connare, designer of Comic Sans, said, “if you love Comic Sans, you don’t know anything about typography. But if you hate Comic Sans, then you don’t know anything about typography either…and you should get another hobby”.

His statement was published in response to an online campaign called ‘Ban Comic Sans’, the brainchild of husband-and-wife graphic designers, Dave and Holly Combs. The life mission of these typographic vigilantes is to abolish the use of the world’s most ubiquitous and reviled — and arguably misunderstood — typeface, Comic Sans.

“Comic Sans is a blight on the landscape of typography.”
– Dave Combs of Ban Comic Sans

Power to the people
How did Comic Sans come into existence? 1995 saw the release of Microsoft Bob, software that acted as a user-friendly interface to introduce younger users to the Microsoft operating systems of the time. The virtual guide for using the OS was a dog named Rover, who gave advice via dismissable speech bubbles, just like Microsoft’s anthropomorphic paper clip — remember him?

Well, Connare was surprised to see that in beta versions of Microsoft Bob, Rover ‘talked’ in the formal Times New Roman: “I thought, ‘That’s silly. Dogs don’t talk like that.’ So I said it would look better if it looked like a comic book.”

Drawing on the lettering style of comic books including The Dark Knight and Watchmen, Connare drafted a typeface without anti-aliasing for PC screens. It had personality, unusual letter spacing and unequal visual weight. And it communicated a playful, friendly and informal aspect to whatever Rover explained to you.

 

Microsoft Bob ultimately didn’t use Comic Sans, but the typeface spread far and wide. Microsoft released Windows 95 with five supplied fonts, in various weights: Arial, Courier New, Times New Roman, Wingdings and… Comic Sans.

On top of this, Comic Sans was a default font for Microsoft Publisher, the entry-level desktop publishing software. This gave people worldwide the ability to design their own marketing and company branding materials, not to mention as many passive aggressive office signs as any situation demands.

Typographic misuse — a matter of opinion
Fonts are letters in different shoes. You may think it’s distasteful to wear Crocs with socks, or even to wear Crocs at all. I may not. And you’ll probably wear dress shoes rather than Crocs to a wedding, and trainers instead of Crocs for sports. It’s all about purpose and context.

Designers spend hours of their lives scrolling through Font Book trying to select the right typeface for the job. Sometimes it can be an easy choice, but other times it’s not so simple. Making the correct typographic choice should be based on several questions:

    What message are you trying to convey?
    Who are the intended readers?
    Who or what does the text represent?
    In what context will the typeface be seen?

Not everyone who is choosing a typeface or designing a poster may consciously ask themselves these questions, but some will without realising it.

Well, critics of Comic Sans argue that it shouldn’t be used in the workplace or on an outdoor defibrillator cabinet. But what font would you suggest for signage in a paediatrician’s waiting room? How about for labels of emergency equipment in a school? How can you make a sign that says “please keep the office toilet tidy” without coming across as being passive aggressive? Comic Sans could be your solution.

Comic Sans rules KO
There are practical applications for Comic Sans too. Dyslexia is a disability as defined in the Equality Act 2010. 10% of the population are dyslexic; 4% have severe dyslexia. Some fonts have been specifically designed to aid dyslexics, but if you don’t have access to those, Comic Sans is one of the most popular alternatives. Its letter spacing and legibility tick the right boxes for dyslexic readers, with one exception. The mirrored lowercase ‘b’ and ‘d’ can be easily confusing for a dyslexic reader.

Compare Comic Sans with a selection of other fonts by reading the pangrams below out loud, and consider why people may have chosen it as the font for their design project. Maybe they intended the message to be affable, casual or just wanted disabled or young people to read the text with ease.

Comi-clusion
Do you know your ascenders from your descenders, kerning from tracking or your ear from your terminal? If you want to learn more, visit Supremo’s Type Terms Explained — it might just convince you Vincent Connare knew what he was doing.

Designers often have conversations about type and its uses with respect to whether those who drafted a piece of work chose the right typeface, and how the choice works with brand colours.

Some fonts are more ubiquitous than others, and easier to identify. When you next spot Comic Sans, take a few moments to consider the possible reasons it was chosen.

And when you choose your next font, use whatever you think is best. If you think it feels right, use Comic Sans. Or, wear your Crocs to a wedding.
Thomas is a Senior Designer for Caliber, sign painter and typographer. Find out what Caliber does or have a look at Thomas’ painting.

8 Benefits of Hiring A Marketing Agency

8 Benefits of Hiring A Marketing Agency

 George Schildge

Marketing is increasingly responsible for more and more. More productivity, more effectiveness, more leads, more sales, etc. Marketing teams are feeling strapped with limited resources, smaller budgets, and there isn’t adequate training available. If you keep your entire marketing team in-house, you could wind up spending your entire budget on payroll and still not have all of the skill sets needed.

Despite the challenges of finding performance-based agency partners, marketers are outsourcing at record rates. According to Accenture, CMOs are turning to a large mix of agency partners and marketing service providers, outsourcing “between 45 percent and 75 percent of marketing activities.”

Companies can realize the following benefits by hiring
a performance-based marketing agency:

Cost/Risk: At much less than the cost of one full-time executive, you get an entire team of experts, and can expect cheaper ad costs and software costs, among others. Minimize the impact of marketing staff reductions.

Access: With the right firm, you still get complete access to all of your data and insights — no hidden fees/total transparency. Access expertise in marketing strategy and implementation, as well as creative design, focused on the specific job or project on hand.

Time: You save on all of the time it takes finding someone — or trying to learn the entire Internet marketing field yourself.

Experience: Get an outside perspective on your business. Your team will benefit from the experience the marketing team brings to the table, such as familiarity with your target market and the many marketing channels and opportunities available.

Deciding whether to hire in-house marketers or a marketing agency has the potential for predictable, scalable revenue growth. If you’re on the fence, here are top 8 reasons to consider outsourcing some of your marketing to a performance-driven agency.

 

  1. You get more than just marketing expertise

What if you could have predictable, effective marketing systems that generated and nurtured sales leads? By outsourcing some of your marketing, you get marketing talent, leading-edge strategies, shared experiences, and access to advanced marketing technology. You can seamlessly synchronize the end-to-end customer experience, and touch each stage of the buying cycle with agile, timely, and relevant marketing campaigns.

The marketing skills gap is very real. 75% of marketers say their lack of skills is impacting revenue in some way, and 74% say it’s contributing to misalignment between the marketing and sales teams, according to Oracle. Clearly, the game is changing and marketers need to master the new rules. An agency helps you bridge this gap, and provides a team of diverse people that have the education and the experience.

And, one marketing person can’t do it all. (Nor should they.) And if they do, can you afford them? With an agency, you get access to versatile professionals with proven backgrounds in business strategy, marketing, content marketing, communications, business strategy, graphic design, web design, internet marketing, and SEO. Because of these vast skill sets, they add great value when they contribute where needed.

  1. You want to be nimble and manage costs

Fixed cost are huge. People, systems, and facilities account for the largest part of the internal marketing budget. And the cost of a bad hire can easily cost a company over $200,000 (Calculate it here).

By comparison, marketing agency resources don’t need a full-time salary, benefits, and other overhead. When you hire a good agency, that team should provide a wide-range of strategic, tactical, and technology skills.

By outsourcing some or all of your marketing activities not only save your money in salaries and overhead, but our outsourcing partner can also save you money in direct purchases on marketing programs (e.g., printing, media buys, advertising, marketing technologies, etc.). By leveraging their suppliers, a good outsourcing partner can save a company 10 – 30% in their overall marketing spending. Here’s an example below. Just one direct hire cost a company about $120,000 (salary and overhead). A marketing outsourcing team typically cost less than that and one top of that you gain access to a full cross-functional team.

  1. You get access to the latest technology

Marketing departments are often technology-deprived, or they have a mixed assortment of incompatible marketing technologies. While companies have access to over 4,000 marketing technologies available to them, how do they know which ones to pick? And it’s often the case that marketing organizations are at the bottom of the IT department’s priority list, so there might be a lack of support and guidance. A performance-based marketing agency that can provide you guidance as well as implementation service and support are extremely valuable.

Marketing tools increase efficiency, productivity, and performance. There are tools you can find for free or of little cost, but often they are limited on producing results. But performance-driven agencies give you access to premium-level services, software, and analytical data reports.

Also, consider that advanced marketing automation tools do not provide marketing services. They require a professional who can interpret marketing data and make smart decisions in order to achieve results.

  1. Your existing staff becomes more efficient

Some companies try to get around hiring in-house marketers, social media personnel, content writers, and SEO experts by just having existing employees pick up the slack. Dumping the marketing burden onto existing employees (who may or may not be skilled in the area) increases the likelihood of burnout and reduces productivity in the long run. As well as, your marketing efforts will lack consistency and effectiveness even if they have all the necessary training.

If you outsource some of your marketing needs, you maintain momentum with critical projects – they’ll never fall to the wayside, drop down the priority list, or become forgotten. And when employees leave the company, they will most likely take the project assets with them (in the form of tribal knowledge). When you outsource your marketing activities, you have one centralized team as your partner.

  1. You don’t need to train agencies

It’s the marketing leader’s job to produce results, including drive quality sales leads, increase website traffic, build followers and subscribers, yet they often lack the skills, technologies, and strategies to pull it off.

Forrester Research stated in its report, “B2B CMOs Must Evolve or Move On,” that 96% of marketing leaders believe the breadth of skills required to succeed in marketing has increased, and 44% say they can’t find the right combination of people and skills in the job market.

Performance-driven agencies, like Matrix Marketing Group, provide a unique, holistic approach that allows clients to launch multidisciplinary campaigns with one “highly qualified contact.” Your dedicated resource is accountable for strategy through deployment. You don’t have to train your existing staff members because your agency has the depth and breadth of skills needed.

  1. You can easily scale your marketing efforts

When the economy tightens, companies tend to cut costs. Marketing is often the first to go because they are seen as a “discretionary” expense. And when times are good, marketing often gets more funding. It goes against the objectives of the CEO responsibilities, and that’s maximize stakeholder value.

But reducing and expanding the marketing budget is expensive. In the short-term, reducing or canceling marketing activities incurs cost. In the long-term, costs associated with attrition, staffing and erosion of knowledge base are more expensive.

Under a traditional in-house operation, the only way you can increase the output of your marketing team is to hire more employees. Agencies like Matrix Marketing Group already have cross-functional professionals on the core team that have been senior management with some of the top agencies, design firms or companies in the world.

  1. Stay current on the latest marketing trends, without a learning curve

Digital marketing agencies must constantly be up to speed and follow the latest developments across digital marketing trends on a regular basis. It is part of their job description.

What in-house marketer has time to read up on all the latest social media, SEO, technology, content marketing, and branding news? Usually, they are so buried in day-to-day tasks, there is no room to continuously grow, change, and evolve. The majority of reputable digital marketing agencies take education very seriously. I invest time to stay abreast of the latest trends, tools, technologies, and strategies to serve you better. According to the report above from Capgemini, only 4% of companies align their training efforts with their digital strategy.

Source Capgemini

  1. You benefit from an outside perspective

It’s easy for in-house Marketers to lose sight of the big picture. They tend to be immersed in the day-to-day activity and wearing many hats. They can’t see the forest for the trees. Employees may find it hard to express new ideas or bring up concerns, for fear of losing their jobs. But we’ve seen amazing results by collaborating with marketing team members.

Sometimes you can get too close to your business and not see your marketing strategies, programs, or materials from your audience’s perspective. Even though you may know your business inside and out by living and breathing it each day, your perspective is still one-sided. To market successfully to your current audience – and capture new markets – you need to step out of your shoes and into your target markets’ or customers’. Having a group on the “outside” supporting your needs helps to give you the customer’s perspective, not just your company’s.

Whether it’s planning, copywriting or designing, the right outsourced team will have experience with a variety of different marketing and communication strategies, techniques, and tools. You can rely on their lessons over the years to find the correct solution for your business challenge.

The Bottom Line

Companies of all sizes use outsourcing to help build their business and stay nimble. By outsourcing some or all of your marketing, you have flexibility and access to trained professionals and advanced marketing technology.

Here’s an example of an outsourced marketing campaign. The first month of the campaign, we may only do one blog post that attracts 84 new followers on social media, and generates 16 leads. The second month, we may publish two more blog posts, add two content offers, attract 192 new followers, increase our search engine ranking for eight keywords, which generates 37 leads. By the sixth month, we may have published a total of 30 blog posts, created 10 content offers, have a total of 1674 followers, and are showing up on page one of Google for five keywords, and generate over 240 leads. The compound effect from creating those assets over time didn’t just double the leads in the second month, they generated 10x the results in only a few short months. So you can see the value–right?

When you are hiring a marketing agency, you should assume that you are getting senior-level marketing professionals with a wide-range of skill sets. When picking agencies, some companies worry about product knowledge and try to find vertical industry firms. Your employees should have product/service knowledge to provide guidance and edit for content. Your agency should provide you with an outside viewpoint on where to find your market and how to talk to it.

The ideal situation is to have at least one point person working internally who can collaborate with the marketing agency to help them understand your brand voice, key messages, content, and demographics. A performance-based agency will have lots of ideas on to contribute based on trends, statistical data, and competitive analysis, but we find the best results come from working with a dedicated staff within our client’s company.

I’d love to hear your comments and don’t forget to share.

 

 

 

 

How To Use Social Media

For many people, social media is nothing more than a way to keep up with friends and family members.  But, to the astute social media user, Faceboook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, and many others are an ocean of business opportunities.

If you are a small business owner trying to grow your business through social media, but you can’t expand or grow your audience because you lack the time, lack ideas on what you need to post, don’t know which social network to focus on, or you’re not sure how to gain more fans and followers, follow these steps to build a more engaging audience and increase your social brand.

Step One: Pick Your Networks

Don’t focus on every social network – there are hundreds of them – instead, pick two different social networks to focus on and then expand from there based on how your audience responds to your posts. The “big 5” social networks are: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Linkedin. Don’t feel that just because everyone is on these netwokrst your audience will be there too. Youtube may not be the best network to find an audience that likes stationary pictures. Likewise, twitter may not be the best place to write a novel. Find your audience, find your network, and get to work.

Step Two: Post Consistency is Key

Social Media takes time and commitment. You need to post every day – if possible. Posting a picture or sharing a status update every-once in a while is not going to get you very far.

When you do post, make sure that you post relevant content that matters to your audience. If you are a travel agency, share topics that are relevant to travel: Destinations, Places to Eat, How to Negotiate Hotel Rates, How to Stay Safe, How to Plan a Trip – all of these are “topics” that are relevant to traveling. If you want to grow your audience, share content that makes your audience want to come back for more.

Don’t try to sell to your audience on every post. If you had a friend who tried to sell you a service every time you two socialized, would you want to socialize with them in the future? Probably not. Your audience is the same way. Only about 10% of your posts should actually be “sales” while the other 90% should be social media development: Motivational Images, Inspirational Quotes, Relevant Articles, etc. (Anything that your audience will like to share)

If there are trending hashtags, then use them to reach a wider audience. By using a hashtag, you make it easy for people to find your status updates and images on Social Networks.

Step Three: Be Part of the Community

When you go to a networking event, you listen to people. You learn about who they are and what they do. You try to find strategic partners and try to find friends and acquaintances. Social media works the exact same way.

Don’t just focus on trying to sell your services. Actually try to connect with potential strategic partners or customers. Follow their profiles and engage with them – as a friend. When you follow a person, they usually get a notification. When they get the notification, they usually click over to see who followed them: who are they and what do they do? They usually follow you back – especially if you are sharing interesting posts.

If you engage with them – like their posts, comment on their statuses, etc. – they also get a notification, and often times they follow you back because you are someone who is interested in what they have to say. This is how we build friendships in the real world – it’s not any different in the virtual world?

Step Four: Follow Through with Your Audience

If your audience leaves you a comment, try to reply back to the comment as quickly as possible. If a client comes to your store and complains or compliments your work, do you stand there with a blank stare? or do you engage with the customer? Don’t leave your audience hanging. Reply back to all their comments. Reply back to all of their reviews.

If an audience member leaves you a positive review – reply back to it and thank them for their kindness.

If an audience member leaves you a negative review – reply back to it and try to offer them a solution – then thank them for taking the time of bringing the situation to your attention.

Remember that social media is supposed to be all about creating and developing conversations.

Step Five: Patience is a Virtue

Social media takes time, it’s not something that happens over night. A well developed strategy can take months to work, but the longer you wait, the longer is going to take to give you a positive ROI. When done correctly, you will have a small but passionate group of people ready to do business with you and your company. You don’t need thousands of followers to see a positive ROI, you just need a couple of hundred people. Even 50 people (if they’re passionate about your brand) can give you some serious results.

DO NOT EVER buy followers or likes. If you do, you will destroy your social media page. Think of it as setting up an auditorium full of people: Would you rather have 50 people that love your product, or 5,000 people that hate your product or what you stand for?

Closing Remarks

Social media is very important – today more than ever. If you don’t have the time, don’t know what to share, or don’t know where you should focus your attention on, we recommend that you hire a company to assist you with your social media needs. We offer a free 1 hour consultation for our Virtual Assistant Services. We can use this hour to help you understand what you’re looking for and then help you find solutions that fit your budget.