2017 – The year of social media marketing

Social media marketing is no longer optional for businesses. The future of marketing, from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, is digital content. The proof is in the numbers.

In 2016:

  •  70% of Americans have at least one social media profile.
  • Social media marketing budgets are expected to increase from about 10% on average to nearly 25% in the next five years.
  • 43% of digital marketers say social media is one of their most effective tactics, 49% call it one of the most difficult to execute.

Here are the trends taking over 2017:

 Let’s be real

Real time, live content is what people want. We are fascinated with live, authentic content. So, show us behind the scenes of your business or your employees volunteering their time at a local animal shelter. People want to know you are real. Dunkin Donuts does an amazing job being real with their Facebook followers. Dunkin, perhaps we can team up?

Stick a pin in it

Last March, Pinterest opened up Promoted Pins to all businesses. Pinterest is a smart marketing platform and Pinterest Ads and Promoted Pins can be a great strategy for you. Advertisers who used the Pinterest Ads Manager received an average of 20% more (free) clicks a month after the start of a Promoted Pins campaign.

 promoted pin

We can make it together

People are empowered and motivated more than ever to co-create social content with brands. If a brand makes that possible, people are more invested. Encourage your customers to participate in creative ways whether it’s a video, image or even text. Starbucks did it last year!

starbucks

What good are we doing?

Marketing campaigns that are tied to a cause have a huge impact on customers. Remember our blog about social video?

diet_coke_2013_show_your_heart_can

TopRank social media blogger Lee Odden said, “When brands and marketers can marry the wisdom and action of the crowd with technology that actually solves a real problem, I think the future of social media is brighter than ever.”

Contact us if you want to know more about how you can implement these trends. TAG, we’re it!

Snapchat Marketing 101

Millennials shop in a different way than the generations before them. In fact, 62% of Millennials feel that brands that engage with them on social media are more authentic, thus making them more inclined to buy.

How do you engage with them? Snapchat.

Snapchat is the newest social media platform to hop on the marketing train. With 100 million daily viewers, 9,000 Snapchats sent every second, and users spending an average of 30 minutes inside the app every day, Snapchat is a gold mine for brands targeting a younger demographic.  In fact, 41% of 18-34 year olds use Snapchat.

If you’re going to use Snapchat, it’s important to stay true to your brand, while also remaining authentic to your audience. You can do that in a number of ways. Here a few of our suggestions:

Show what happens behind-the-scenes.

Give people a behind the scenes look at your company. Whether you’re releasing a new product or celebrating someone’s birthday, people like to see the faces behind the brand!

kylie jenner

Exclusive Offers.

Deliver private content that audiences might not receive on other platforms. Offering a coupon to followers in a Snapchat makes them feel like they have exclusive content!coupon

It’s OK to be imperfect, your audience prefers it!

Share raw and real content. The audience on Snapchat, as you recall, finds it important to connect with brands they purchase. Humanize yourself by drawing on your snaps, using filters, stickers, etc.pharrel

Remember length.

Snapchat is meant to provide quick glimpses. Our attention spans are incredibly short. Keep your content platform specific.

Keep your brand top-of-mind.

Use a geofilter to stake your claim. Geofilters are great tools to generate brand awareness in and around your place of business or at one of your special events! Your options are unlimited when it comes to creating your own geofilter, so get creative!

geofilter

Follow some of Anne and Olivia’s favorite Snapchat brands:

Sour Patch Kids - @sourpatchsnaps

Burger King – @burgerking

Kylie Jenner - @kylizzlemynizzl

 

If you’re wanting to learn more about how to use Snapchat for your business, contact TAG!

5 Ways to Create An Engaging Social Video

5 Ways to Create An Engaging Social Video

Video is taking over the digital world.

The average person spends 45 minutes per day watching video on their smartphone and there are over 100 million hours of video being consumed on Facebook daily.

If you want to catch your audience’s attention on social platforms, video is the way to do it. BUT, only if it’s done right.

Here’s our cheat sheet of 5 ways you can create an engaging social video.

1. A dead shark moment

You have 3 seconds to capture your audience’s attention before they continue to scroll through their newsfeed. Your opening content must capture your audience. That is your dead shark moment.

(The term was affectionately coined by Donuts and Digital stars Anne Spoden and Olivia Cronin)

2. An emotional connection

People share videos that make them feel something. Whether it’s joy, sadness, anger, surprise, or love, you have to strike an emotional chord.

 3. Quick cuts

Humans have the attention spans of goldfish. To keep your audience engaged, your video needs to have quick cuts. Rather than having one person talking on-screen, insert graphics, information, images, or GIFs to keep your viewers glued to the screen.

 4. A concise message

Most social videos are between 30 and 90 seconds. Remember, we have short attention spans. Get to the point!

5. A call to action

Now that you have the viewer’s attention, make them do something! End your video with a strong call to action like, “Share this video” or “Click here to learn more.”

Contact TAG if you want help producing your own social video!

(Now that’s a call to action!)

TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

AnneA Business Marketing & Management graduate of Augustana College, Anne Spoden serves as the Director of Digital Services at TAG. Working closely with clients to build innovative lead generation strategies, Anne enjoys helping clients attract and retain customers with fun, engaging marketing tactics.

What’s Anne’s favorite part about social media marketing?

“I love the human element that social media marketing brings to the table. Social media is ever-changing which also allows me to be creative and explore new possibilities for our clients.”

But before Anne decided she wanted to work in the marketing industry, she had a few other aspirations in mind.

“When I was little, I really wanted to be a teacher, like my mom. But after I realized that I have no patience, and a bit of a diva personality, I figured I should find another career path.”

And we’re so lucky she has chosen a career path at TAG!

“My favorite thing about working at TAG is the people—hands down. It’s rare that you get to work at a place where you actually like the people you work with. But at TAG, I can honestly say that I not only like my coworkers, but truly value the creativity and personality they bring to the table.”

When she’s not working or chowing down on cheeseburgers, you can find Anne either exploring the Quad Cities, or curled up on her couch binge-watching the Real Housewives.

“When I’m not at work, I like to spend time with my fiancé Jim. Together, we like to travel and explore new, fun places in the Quad Cities. I’m also a huge Real Housewives’ fan. In fact, one of my goals in life is to start a Real Housewives of the Quad Cities!”

She’s also loves to show off her hidden talent …

Anne Party Tricks

I’m double jointed. I can twist my arms all the way around, and bend my fingers back to my wrists. It’s gross, but makes for a great party trick! ”

You do you, Anne.

Oh yeah, and she’s also getting married this summer—congrats!!!

 

Did you enjoy learning more about Anne? Keep checking our blog for more awesome employee highlights! TAG, we’re it!

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

Discover some of the best food around when you try any of these local restaurants in Dubuque! We asked members of the TAG team in the Dubuque office what some of their favorite places to grab a bite are. Check them out and let us know what you think!

Lot One

AJWeb developer, Andrew Haas, is a big fan of Lot One.

“You can find a great craft beer selection and the best tacos in town at Lot One.”

This laid back watering hole has pub style food and a fantastic, casual atmosphere. And the Reubens are amazing—actually, everything’s great!

If you’re looking for a great breakfast place, check out Lot One’s Sunday Funday menu. Every Sunday they’re cooking up some of the best omelets and pancakes in the area! There’s something on the menu for everyone at Lot One.

Kathleen HerberRubix

We can’t start our day without our morning coffee. For Kathleen Herber, Vice President of the Tri-State market, that means making a trip to Rubix.

“Rubix has great coffee, welcoming staff and a great atmosphere. You can’t beat it!”

The key to the excellent coffee is their locally grown coffee beans. The menu also includes delicious food and fantastic organic juices as well. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their bacon chicken mac and cheese flatbread. If you’re looking for quick, delicious and diverse offerings, Rubix is your place!


L.May Eatery

We love L.May Eatery for the creative options, atmosphere and cocktails! From brick oven fired pizzas to amazing entrées that are changed seasonally, you literally can’t go wrong here! Better yet, they use locally grown ingredients and they have THE best sangria and martinis around. And the appetizer menu is fantastic, hands down best bruschetta in town!

You literally just can’t go wrong at L. May!

Copper Kettle

MikeThe Copper Kettle is a great place to relax with friends and family and enjoy great food and craft beers. The easygoing, lively bar & grill is a great spot for sports fans too, with multiple TVs. The service at Copper Kettle is fantastic and unparalleled.

From fresh salads and burgers to scotch eggs and white truffle parmesan fries, the eclectic menu is full of unique items. And if you haven’t tried the scotch egg yet, you should!

TAG CEO, Mike Vondran has been going to the Copper Kettle since he was a child.

“It’s fun to go back and have a flood of great memories every time. Besides, the food and service is outstanding.”

 

If you haven’t already, stop into the Copper Kettle, L. May Eatery, Rubix or Lot One for some of the best food around—you won’t regret it! These aren’t the only places that we love to frequent, but they’re some of our favorites. Is there a Dubuque restaurant we should be talking about? Let us know! Join our conversation on Facebook!

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

The Quad Cities is home to some awesomely creative and inspiring places! So, next time you’re looking to get inspired, be sure to check out one of these top four places to get creative in the Quad Cities—courtesy of the TAG team.

QC Co-Lab
The QC Co-Lab was established in 2010, and provides an excellent space for creative minds to make meaningful masterpieces! Promoting the areas of technology, science, engineering, art and music, the Co-Lab houses detailed project rooms, including industrial and electrical workshops, a library and classroom and a state-of-the-art AV studio. QC Co-Lab is available to non-members, as well as special events, workshops and a regular Open Houses every Saturday. A QC Co-Lab membership is $30 per month, but provides you access to any and all equipment or rooms you need for your project—what a great concept!
QC CoLab

Quad City Arts
Quad City Arts is a non-profit arts organization that focuses on advocating for local artists by providing the Quad Cities community with educational performing arts programs and services. What’s great about Quad City Arts, is that they offer year-round programming, so you can stay creative all year long. Whether looking to be inspired by up-and-coming artists, or wanting to take a more hands-on approach with visual workshops and events, Quad City Arts offers everything you need to channel your inner creativity and have fun.
QC Arts
Figge Art Museum
The Figge Art Museum is a premier art exhibition and education facility, located in the heart of downtown Davenport. Home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and host to world-class traveling exhibitions, the Figge is one of the best places in the Quad Cities to get your creative juices flowing. If looking at art isn’t your thing, the Figge also offers a variety of interactive art classes for both youth and adults. And, if you’re looking for a fun place to take your kids on a rainy springtime afternoon, their Artica Gallery / Family Activity Center offers a great imaginative spot to hang.
Figge
Crafted Quad Cities
Do you like to craft? Then you’ll love Crafted Quad Cities! Not only can you shop for adorable, hand-made items at Crafted Quad Cities, but they also host a variety of crafting classes—available on nights, days and weekends. If you’re ready to make stuff, they’re ready to help!
Crafted QC
Wherever you choose to get creative in the Quad Cities, all that matters is that you are finding a great place to express your inner creativity. Where are some of your favorite spots in the Quad Cities to get creative? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

A creative problem solver, Brian Buckles, Director of Design Services at TAG, works with our clients to help build their brands.

Brian is a Bettendorf native and a graduate of Iowa State University.

“I always knew I wanted to do something with art. My high school art teacher here in Bettendorf was a huge factor in my career path. He was an awesome teacher and taught us at a college level. He showed me different career opportunities for artists and encouraged me to pursue graphic design at Iowa State.”

Art has been his passion since he was little—but not his only passion.

Buckles Shark“When I was little I went back and forth between wanting to be an artist and wanting to be a marine biologist because I love sharks. Shark week is one of my favorite times of year. I even have tapes from when I was a kid of recorded shark shows.”

In fact, he loves sharks so much that if he were a superhero, he would be Shark Man.

“I’m not sure what my powers would be. I could have a great sense of smell, because sharks have an awesome sense of smell. But my powers would probably be to save the sharks from over-fishing somehow.”

When he’s not working, Brian’s time revolves around his family.

“Family is the most important thing to me. I love spending time with my three kids, and I really enjoy playing and watching basketball, too. We don’t have Netflix or cable anymore, but when we did I used to binge watch shows like New Girl. ”

His attention to detail and creative eye makes him fantastic at his job. His favorite part about working at TAG is getting to work with people who are specialists in their respective fields.

“I try to use whatever God-given abilities I have to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Of course, designing to produce effective communication that ultimately leads to increased sales for our client’s is incredibly important, and I take great pride in helping them accomplish those goals. But that moment when they first see something we’ve created and their face just lights up; that little moment makes all of it worth it.”

How does Brian sustain the energy to produce such amazing works of art? He can’t live without coffee!

Learn more about Brian and his talents by visiting our website portfolio.

TAG Team Highlight: Jordan Kremer

TAG Team Highlight: Jordan Kremer

Who’s Google Analytics and AdWords certified and ready to take your online marketing to the next level? Jordan Kremer, TAG’s Associate Digital Analyst!

“ I come up with strategies to get consumers to our clients’ websites and analyze what they do once they’re on the website,” said Jordan. “I enjoy the challenge of learning new things. Since Google is a constantly evolving marketing platform, it gives us the flexibility and challenge to create new, innovative campaigns that drive results.”

“The best part of Google AdWords is how specific it can get—it’s all data-driven.”

Originally from Cedar Rapids, Jordan graduated from St. Ambrose University with a degree in Business Marketing and Management.

“I love the location of the Quad Cities—it’s a short trip to Iowa City for a game, or a weekend in Chicago with friends.”

When Jordan isn’t at TAG performing the duties of a Google Master, you can find him working out or reading. His latest literary find? Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin  (the book, not the show …).

You’ll also spot him at Van’s in Davenport, throwing back some beverages and buffalo chicken dip.

A lover of Halloween, Jordan can also juggle three things at a time (see below!).
Jordan Juggles

Where does Jordan see himself in five years?

“In five years, I’d like to be graduated with an MBA to advance myself in my career. I’ve always had an interest in venture capital as well.”

 

For more information on Jordan, and the role he performs at TAG, visit our website!

 

Five Follow-Worthy Celebrity Accounts on Instagram

Currently, there are more than 400 million people using Instagram to share their life through pictures and videos. And of those 400 million people, we are sure you have certain types of accounts you prefer to follow. Home & lifestyle, action, fashion, beauty … you name it. But what about celebrities? Here’s a list of five follow-worthy celebrity accounts on Instagram you MUST follow today.

1. Who: Ellen Degeneres—The Ellen Show
Why you should follow her: @theellenshow is one of the savviest show Instagram accounts out there. Her posts are fun, visual and—of course—hilarious! If you don’t follow her for her #ClassicJokeFriday bits, then at least follow her for her special behind-the-scenes sneak peaks and celebrity close ups. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a quick smile or chuckle after a long day, you can count on @theellenshow to deliver.
Ellen DeGeneres

2. Who: Humans of New York
Why you should follow them: @humansofny shares moving stories from everyday people in the heart of the Big Apple—all guaranteed to warm your heart, and make you feel great about people everywhere. The photos are stunning, the stories are groundbreaking and the people are real—follow, follow, follow!
Humans of New York

3. Who: Ian Somerhalder
Why you should follow him: @iansomerhalder is a huge animal rights activist and a lover of all things good in life. His Instagram account is filled with photos of adorable animals, updates about his work projects and causes he supports, as well as behind-the-scenes shots of The Vampire Diaries—who doesn’t love that? Basically, it’s just an all-around great account filled with real, life-changing things!
Ian S.

4.Who: Rihanna
Why should you follow her: Rihanna made her @BadGalRiRi handle a top priority this past year, posting next-level selfies, hosting killer photo shoots and keeping her fans entertained with hilarious captions and comments. Plus, she’s not afraid to keep it real with adorable photos of her family and friends. 
Rihanna

 5. Who: Lauren Conrad
Why you should follow her: Pretty pastels, fashion musts and beauty inspiration is what you’ll find on @laurenconrad’s Instagram. For those seeking adventure, creative inspiration and active endeavors, following this account is a must.
Lauren Conrad

Well there you have it, a list of Insta-famous accounts, all guaranteed to transform your Insta-experience. Which accounts will you follow? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!

 

*While this is not an Instagram account, we couldn’t end this blog without giving a special Snapchat shout out to DJ Khaled! This man is currently the king of Snapchat, giving his followers behind-the-scenes access to his everyday life to share with the world exactly what he’s doing, planning and thinking—it’s hilarious! Watch his SnapStory daily to find out the “Keys to Success”—remember, they don’t want you to succeed!
DJ Khaled

TAG Team Highlight: Lauren Santee

TAG Team Highlight: Lauren Santee

If you’re looking to have a quirky conversation with a down-to-earth, creative soul, Lauren Santee is your girl.

Serving as one of TAG’s Social Media Specialists, Lauren writes custom social media content for clients and  creates strategies to develop the best social media tactics to differentiate their brands within the market.

“I like to be creative and help businesses take pride in themselves,” said Lauren. “Social media is a way to help them stand for something, and help them communicate with their customers in a creative way.”

A graduate of  Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, Lauren majored in Business Marketing and Communication Studies.

“I did nothing of relevance on campus—I was just busy living my life.”

At TAG, we’re happy that Lauren has decided to live her life in our social media department!

“My favorite part about working at TAG is the people. We can all be creative together and create great ideas that help our clients succeed.”

Before coming to TAG, and before Augustana, Lauren took a year off of school and decided to pursue her passion in music and make a CD.

“I had some connections in New York City, and decided to head out there. I recorded an album there, then created a music video in a warehouse in Chicago. It was a way for me to have a creative outlet and music sparked my interest at the time.”

{Watch Lauren’s music video for “Let Down” below!}

 

AsideBentley from music and social media, Lauren is passionate about her dog, Bentley, and her family. Outside of TAG, you can find her sipping on a rum & diet (with a lime!), eating chips & French onion dip and writing posts for her new blog, Fetch—a blog for dogs and their humans.

 

Lauren’s final words for this interview? “Stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen!”