TAG! You’re It!

Meet Andy Erickson!  Andy!

Andy is our Lead Web Developer and understands things many earth lifeforms can’t even begin to comprehend. We ask him questions about what a developer even means and more importantly, which character in Star Wars he would be.

If you weren’t a developer and somehow became a superhero, whose superpowers would you choose to wield when Thanos and his army of minions invade Earth?  

Being a bald man, I feel the need to give love to the few bald superheroes out there, so I’d have to choose the powers of Professor X. Not only does he look good, the mind control would come in handy also.

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For people who don’t understand what a developer does, how would you put it in layman’s terms for people trying to comprehend what you do?

A developer basically takes a visual design, and uses coding and programming languages to translate it into what you will use and interact with on the internet.

Matrix

If you could create the ultimate band/group of people to play together living or dead, who would be in your dream group and why?

I would have loved to hear what Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan would have done together. Mostly because Bob picked up where Woody left off, and seeing them grow together would have been wild.

What do you enjoy about programming? Do you like it for the sake of creating or the challenge or both?

The thing I enjoy most about programming is solving the puzzle of how to get everything to work. I’m a sucker for puzzles, and one with so many parts and variables excites me.

If you could have Jack Nicholson (your favorite actor) be in any movie during his prime, what would it be?  (It can’t be Over The Top)

You know what would have been fun to see Jack as? Dumbledore in all the Harry Potter movies.

Jack

You have been at TAG for quite a few years now, any projects that you are particularly proud of or especially enjoyed working on?

I’ve always had a lot of fun working on multiple versions of the Hungry Hobo website. We’ve always been able to push the limits in terms of design and development on those, and they came out really cool.

If you could be any character in the Star Wars galaxy, who would you choose and why? (excluding Jar Jar Binks, no one wants that Andy)

I totally would want to be Lando Calrissian because he’s suave, charming, and wears a cape.

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What is your favorite part about working at TAG?

I love working in a creative collaborative environment, and that the work we produce benefits from that.

 

Expanding Your Nonprofit Identity: HAVlife™

Understanding your nonprofit’s brand identity is key when telling people what your organization is and its mission. Effectively marketing your non-profit and showcasing its identity gets your message out to more people, allowing for wider reach. You want to reach as many people as possible, and updating your web presence, utilizing social media and public relation events, you can start to gain a following.Havlife_Golf_Outing_Poster

TAG has assisted HAVlife™, an organization aimed at Preventing Lost Potential™ in youth ages 10 – 15, in crafting its brand identity and expressing how important the nonprofit’s mission is. TAG approached crafting an identity reflecting the nonprofit’s mission and resources it offers to students. By giving HAVlife™ a platform and web presence, it would be easier to showcase the organization and its mission.

Designing the HAVlife™ website, TAG clearly defines the HAVlife™ brand with a playful and unique user experience, while showing exactly what the mission is. Featuring videos of students pursuing their passions of artistry, athletics and music, the mission shines through. The site also includes the corresponding chapter pages of the HAVlife™ organization which include Dubuque and Johnson County. Each of these pages feature their own donation buttons and events corresponding to the area.

Havlife_MSO_PosterMarketing your nonprofit across various forms of media is also a necessity. TAG utilized digital design by creating Snapchat filters and digital media, including Facebook and Twitter, to market HAVlife™ to different audiences. Consistently posting and showing people that your organization is active in the community will expand your audience.

Presenting your nonprofit through public relations and hosting fundraisers is a great way to engage people. HAVlife™ hosts several annual fundraising events including the Martini Shake Off™ and a Golf Outing. These events have grown exponentially over the years, with the 2019 Martini Shake Off raising over $65,000 for local community organizations aimed at Preventing Lost Potential™.

If you are interested in learning now the TAG team can help market your nonprofit’s mission, contact us here.

TAG! You’re It!

Meet Anne Spoden Kiss!

Anne is our Vice President of Digital Services and recently returned from maternity leave and has not slept in months. She comes back to TAG because as Cardi B says, “I got a baby, I need some money.” We want to welcome her back with questions about her work ethic and other existential questions:

You have a baby now; did you mark it immediately to make sure people could identify it was yours?P9

I think people will definitely know she’s mine. She can’t even walk and already has a closet full of shoes, and is practicing her side-eye to give when people are saying something crazy to her. She’s got a big personality, loves to be around people and smiles when she farts. She’s a real blessing in our lives!

Working with social media, what do you find to be the most fascinating trend or impact regarding people interacting online?

Social Media has really opened the door to building relationships with people and brands who may be traditionally outside your circle of influence. People have access to influencers, celebrities, politicians, athletes, and brands in ways that never existed before. This isn’t necessarily a trend but it certainly has influenced the way that people are able to communicate, and has shaped the way brands tells stories and advertise online. People are now using social media to have meaningful conversations, inspire change and engage in new communities of people.

So, we hear you plan on starting Real Housewives of Quad Cities, will you be one of the featured housewives or do you see yourself more as the Andy Cohen of the show?

As much as I’d love to be the star of the RHOQC, my life doesn’t have enough activity or drama to make the series a success. I’m more of the puppeteer behind the mayhem (ala Andy Cohen) making casting decisions, editing for drama-filled moments, and living vicariously through women who find spending $25,000 on sunglasses is just in a day’s work. As a perk though, I’d like to be included in each season’s cast trip to somewhere exotic.tenor

 

While most people know Google or how to operate it, you are Google certified. How does that differentiate you from all of us novices?

Being Google Certified means that I possess all of the powers of the internet. I’ve spent hours in training (40+), studied and taken tests to prove that I have all the knowledge of the inner workings of Google, including Google Ads, Analytics, YouTube and more. Having Google Certified specialists at TAG is a true benefit for our clients because it means that we understand how to best utilize the plethora of advertising options through Google to create, plan, place, optimize and analyze meaningful online campaigns that drive results.

What’s the deal with you and Mr. Chris Bridges aka Ludacris?

My obsession with Luda started a LONG time ago. Ludacris “Stand Up” was the only song that I made the DJ promise to play at my wedding, and I joked with my husband that we should name our first-born Luda so their name would be Luda Kiss (get it?). But really, I just love his music and it always puts me in a good mood.

luda

You’re the host of Donuts and Digital which I’ve heard gets more viewers than the Tonight Show, can we expect big things from D&D in 2019?

Yes, the ratings are incredible! Now that I’m back from my maternity sabbatical, I’m excited to relaunch our series. Viewers can expect some pretty cool things heading into the new year including, new co-hosts, guest appearances, on-location shoots, viewer engagement and more, all with the same great marketing and advertising information they’ve come to expect from D&D!

We were told you own way too many shoes. What is your favorite pair, and is there a pair of shoes you wished you owned?

I mean … how many is too many? Rachel Zoe said that “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” so I let my shoes do the talking for me. I unfortunately just had to say goodbye to my favorite pair (RIP) because I wore them out. They were a gorgeous pair of 5-inch cobalt blue stilettos with spikes all over them. I wouldn’t say that there is a specific pair that I’d love to own, but I’m always looking for shoes that I haven’t seen anyone else wear.

Finally, what is your favorite part about working at TAG?

My favorite part about working at TAG is the people. Our team, clients and partners make this business exciting each and every day. We always get to create something new and share our passion for our craft with others. When you work with, and for, great people, it makes the work so much more engaging!

Changes to the Facebook Algorithm: What it Means for Your Business

Changes to the Facebook Algorithm: What it Means for Your Business

The news is everywhere: Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement last Thursday that Facebook users would begin to see more posts from friends and family, and fewer posts from brands, celebrities and news outlets.

The changes are intended to maximize the amount of content with “meaningful interaction” that people consume on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview.

But, what does this mean for your business’s Facebook presence?

In the simplest terms, it means that your page’s organic reach will once again be declining and fewer fans will automatically see your content displayed in their feeds. Although these changes may seem daunting, there are several ways to continue to use Facebook to keep your brand in front of your target audience.

 

  1. Tell a Story
    There is nothing more personal than telling a story, and personal stories of staff, customers and your community will continue to be content that engages, resonates and creates a positive feeling amongst your audience. Find creative ways to portray your messages via stories that inspire, engage and incite emotion.
  2. User-Generated Content
    “The importance of user-generated content, which has already been proven to be the No. 1 driver of social influence on purchase decisions, is greater than ever if posts from friends and family are going to be prioritized above all else,” said Katherine Hays, CEO, Vivoom.
  1. Engage!
    Likes, comments and shares will continue to be a way to push your content into your audiences’ feeds. The more likes, comments and shares, the more relevant the content. The fewer the engagements, the less likely it is for your audience to see your posts.
  2. Video Features
    While Facebook may diminish the amount of views on some video content, like publishers who just overlay text on stock video, thoughtful and engaging video content will continue to thrive on the platform. In order to stand out, utilize features such as native video and live video to differentiate your message in an engaging format.
  3. Effective Advertising
    Get the right message in front of your target audience through Facebook Advertising. But don’t just boost a post to a generic audience, find the right type of Ad and narrow your audience to ensure your message resonates.Visit our blog for our Five Rules of Facebook Advertising for more details.

 

 

At TAG, we take social media very seriously, and it’s our job to stay on top of changes that affect businesses and brands across all platforms.  If you have questions about what this new algorithm means for your business, let’s talk. Our team of social media strategists will help you put a plan in place to make sure your content hits the mark!

 

 

4 Basic Things Your Brand Needs to Excel at Digital

The fall season is the perfect time to embrace your inner basic. “Do you want whip cream with that pumpkin spice latte?” You bet your sweet Aunt Sally I do! Even when it comes to your digital strategy, think basic.

At TAG, when we talk about a digital strategy, we’re not simply talking about your website. It’s all of your digital components and how those components work together to deliver results.

Those components include social media, websites, analytics, digital ads, AdWords, etc. -  you get the picture. It’s a lot to think about and monitor, so start slow. Below is what the TAG team believes are the four basic elements your brand needs to master.

1 | Mobile Responsive Website

A mobile responsive website means that your website will be just as clear and easy to navigate on a computer, as it is on a smart phone or tablet. Mobile responsive sites aim to minimize resizing, panning and scrolling so that your consumer can have a seamless interaction with your site and its content.

According to Adobe, nearly 8 out of 10 consumers would stop engaging with a piece of content if it’s not displaying well on their device. And, with roughly 60% of all internet access attributed to mobile traffic (which will continue to grow), can your brand afford to not be mobile responsive?

Think of your own habits. We’re all busy and when you’re looking for information fast, you don’t want to find yourself accessing a website on your phone and constantly having to zoom in to look at the text. It’s a hassle, and consumers and clients alike will find themselves seeking a mobile experience elsewhere.

2 | Social Media

Curious as to another digital tactic where most traffic comes from mobile? Ding, ding, ding! Social media. If you’re a brand, it’s imperative for you to have a focused social strategy. This doesn’t just mean throwing up pictures to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day (although, we do have a tactic for using National Days…), it means being in touch with your audience and knowing what kind of content they’re  looking for on your social media accounts.

Advertising on social media platforms has blown up over the past couple of years, and it will only continue to grow. Create a goal and then create a social media ad campaign that will deliver those results. For example: If you want people to visit your website, create a Facebook Ad campaign that will send traffic to your site. Or, if you’re wanting some exposure for your brand and your audience is relatively young, consider creating a Snapchat filter for a local event you’re sponsoring or that aligns with your brand.

3 | SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

When a potential customer is searching for your product or services online, what would they type into the search bar? Write them down, and then incorporate those words throughout your website because that’s how search engines pull results.

For example, when I type in “home improvement store davenport,” Lowe’s Home Improvement in Davenport is one of the first things to appear. Why? For one, they have home improvement in their name (genius) and it’s also sprinkled throughout their website. If you go to their Company Information page, their description says, “…Lowe’s has been Improving Home Improvement.”

So, if you’re currently dependent upon organic search traffic but aren’t getting the results you want, it’s time to do a word overhaul on your website.

4 | Analytics

Once your website is mobile responsive, your social media tactics and campaigns are running and your search engine optimization is as optimized as it gets, the next step is reviewing the analytics.

If you have a website, make sure it’s set up with a basic Google Analytics tracking code. That way, you’ll be able to see who’s visiting your site, when they’re visiting your site, how long they’re staying, what pages are most viewed, etc. in order to see what’s working with your audience and what’s not.

Social Media sites also have analytics in order for you to see which posts or ads are performing the best. Facebook to Snapchat and everything in between will offer you metrics such as impressions, reach, engagements, click through rates, etc. so that you can see the results, analyze them and then put your money where it makes most sense.

Whether you need help with the basics or if you’re looking to take your digital strategy to new heights, contact the TAG team of social media, web and analytic experts to help you reach your goals.

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3 Types of Video to Amplify Your Digital Marketing

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then that means one minute of video is worth 1.8 million – making it one of the best and fastest growing tools for digital marketing.

According to Cisco, by 2019, videos will account for more than 85% of online traffic in the U.S.. Which makes sense when you think about it. When was the last time you logged into Facebook and didn’t see a video in your news feed? Probably a pretty long time ago. In fact, 55% of people watch videos online every day.

If video marketing isn’t currently in your digital strategy, it should be! But with all of the video already out there, it can be difficult to cut through all of the clutter. Below are three types of video you can use in your marketing to help your brand stand out.

360° Video

What is it? 360° video is shot with a special 360° camera that captures all directions, giving the viewer a 360° view of whatever it is that’s being filmed.  This type of video allows the viewer to explore the video’s surroundings, giving them the option to tilt up or down and side-to-side. If you’re watching a 360° video on your computer, simply press “Play” and then once the video starts, click and drag your mouse anywhere on the screen to explore.

How can I use 360° videos for my marketing? 360° videos are a great tool for real estate agents, hotels, or other brands who are trying to sell, or showcase, a location of interest to its audience.

TAG’s favorite example: This example is from QANTAS, Austrailia’s largest domestic and international airline, which used 360° video to take its user on a virtual tourism experience to one of their most popular and scenic holiday destinations.

Interactive Video

What is it?  Interactive video is a different type of interactive experience. An interactive video will often include prompts asking for user action or input, which in turn, impacts the sequence or events in the video, making it a personalized experience for the viewer. This type of video also allows for user feedback, making it easier for you as a brand to tap into your audience’s needs.

How can I use interactive video for my marketing? Some brands have had a lot of success by incorporating interactive video for educational and promotional content, along with recruitment efforts. Essentially, interactive video is a great tool to use if you’re looking to test products, track your consumer behavior and even collect audience analytics right from the video platform.

TAG’s favorite example: Deloitte is a multinational professional services firm that provides audit, tax, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services, employing more than 244,400 professionals globally. While taxes may not be your idea of a good time, their interactive recruitment campaign will have you looking into their current openings because it’s that good!

deloitte

Virtual Reality

What is it?  Virtual reality, or VR, is a fully immersive experience for your user. The 3D environment, that’s often computer-generated, transfers your user into a virtual landscape, where they’re allowed to explore the virtual environment and interact with objects within that virtual sphere. Virtual reality is experienced through a headset and as the user moves, the goggles track those movements and updates the display.

How can I use virtual reality for my marketing? Virtual reality allows for your clients or consumers to not only hear things from you, but to see and feel. If your marketing objective is to provide your audience with an experience, allow them to explore, educate or to entertain them, VR might be the best option for you!

TAG’s favorite example: The American footwear company Merrel used virtual reality to engage with its audience members over the release of their new hiking boot, the Capra. The company known for its high-performance boots took participants along a dangerous mountain hike to showcase the durability of their new release.

Want to take your video marketing to the next level and stand-out from the competition? TAG has the capability to produce 360°, interactive and virtual reality video! Contact us today to give your campaign the creativity it needs!

How to Incorporate Holidays into Your Social Strategy

Every day it seems like someone is celebrating something on social media. From National Lumpy Rug Day (May 3) to National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day (November 12),  you can find just about anything that relates to your brand. And while those days may seem totally ridiculous, for some brands, it’s a creative way to interact with its audience members.

For instance, a carpet or rug company may want to run a promotion for National Lumpy Rug Day on May 3, promoting a discount to replace your lumpy rug with a new one.

But with so many national days to choose from, we realize it can be overwhelming. So, below are TAG’s tips on how to utilize national holidays to promote your brand and connect with your audience.

Why?

Before you begin implementing, we think it’s beneficial to know the advantages of utilizing national days in your social strategy.

According to Crowd Spring, 78% of consumers believe that companies that are focused on custom content are more trustworthy than companies that post generic content.

I’ll use TAG as an example. Donuts are part of our culture here (hence, Donuts & Digital), so instead of posting some generic picture we found on Google, we actually bought donuts for the office and created our own content. Creating your own content will make your brand seem more authentic, and thus, more trustworthy.

How?

While it’s always good to wish your audience a Happy Halloween or a Happy Valentine’s Day, choose holidays that relate to your brand and company culture.

Oreo actually does a really great job of leveraging national days to create custom content, while still promoting their product.

Oreo_Daily_Twist_Ad_Campaign

 

Do’s & Dont’s

National days are a great way to showcase your brand’s personality on social media, but don’t use it as a crutch for your strategy! If you decide to celebrate a national day every day, your audience members will begin to see through it and tune out your messaging.

A good rule of thumb would be to choose one or two national days per month that:

  • Directly relate to your business
  • Showcase your brand’s personality
  • Provides your audience with an interesting takeaway
  • Creates an opportunity for dialogue between you and your target audience

If you are celebrating a more-common national day (i.e. National Pizza Day), be sure to use the #NationalPizzaDay hashtag to reach the maximum amount of people.

Get Started!

Utilizing national days in your social strategy has never been easier. At TAG, we really enjoy NationalDayCalendar.com  which allows you to see what people are celebrating today, tomorrow, this week, or even two months from now if you’re feeling really ambitious!

Another great tool we would recommend is Sprout Social’s Complete Calendar of Hashtag Holidays for 2017. It’s definitely a more narrowed look at national days throughout the year, but it tells you which is the correct hashtag to include in your post.

Want more? Contact us today so that TAG’s team of social media experts can develop a social calendar that’s custom for your brand!

 

Television & Social Media, #BetterTogether

Nielsen, get out of the way. What television producers care about now is online engagement through social media. People love to engage with each other while watching their favorite shows or sporting events.

Brands are taking notice, too. They’ve realized a captive audience exists online during peak viewing spots and they want to talk with them!

Live tweeting and interacting with online viewers is a way to show your brand’s personality, throw in some advertising, and grow your online audience. Twitter’s own research suggests that brands that live tweet see greater follower growth and retweets, so it really is a no brainer!

But if you’re going to do it. Do it right.

Use hashtags. The RIGHT hashtags. Each show or event has specific hashtags the masses will use!  Make sure you’re using them.

Have some personality. Use social media as a platform to show an audience that humans really are behind your brand! Interact with your follows, too. Ask them questions or set up a poll on Facebook or Twitter with a relevant question throughout the show or event.

Give in! Use the live tweeting session and interactions to give away something to your followers! Whether it’s a coupon, merchandise, or a special offer, it’s a great way to interact with your online audience.

If you need help, we’re it. We’ve done It before! Check out our live-tweeting session during the Super Bowl.

What Can Marketers Learn From Political Campaigns?

What Can Marketers Learn From Political Campaigns?

When it comes to marketing, brands can learn a lesson or two from political campaigns.

Be human, trustworthy and transparent

Don’t forget to show some personality! It’s important and necessary to get your message across, but it should be done in a way that makes the audience feel at ease and comfortable with your brand. Just like no one wants to vote for someone that they cannot trust, people don’t want to do business with brands that they deem untrustworthy.

From the start of both a marketing and a political campaign, the goal and messaging needs to be defined.  If messaging isn’t defined from the beginning, it leaves your intent and meaning up to interpretation.  Identify what you’re trying to communicate and be active in advertising that message.

Video is still effective

Video is an extremely effective tool, especially for search engine optimization. It’s much more likely for your audience to remember a video than it is for them to remember a simple text message. Video, especially online, has seen a growth in spending over the last few years. In fact, it’s estimated that candidates will allocate 30 percent of their advertising budget to online media sources this year!

Promote your message on multiple channels

Political messages have been invading your television, radio, mail and social media feed for the last few months. Promoting messages across multiple platforms and channels is something that politicians have become very good at. From mail pieces to radio and television commercials, and now social media, politicians are everywhere.

In order to win a political campaign, a politician’s goal is to get their message in front of as many people as they possibly can. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are growing in popularity among political candidates. These aren’t the only social options though. Candidates can consider more ways to increase their content by using sites like Slideshare, YouTube, or Google+, too.

Social Media

While promoting your message across multiple platforms is important, social media can be a double-edged sword. Social media is a great tool because such a large population is on these platforms. It extends your reach and your ability to have a conversation with your target audience. Those factors are great for any candidate and brand!

But the bad news is that things on social media can change in a second. Social media is a two-way conversation, and followers are bound to post, share and comment on the content you publish—both positively and negatively.

 

Politics may not be your favorite topic, but political ads and campaigns can teach us some great tactics about marketing. What have been your key takeaways from a marketing standpoint this election year? Join the conversation on our Facebook page! And if your business could use some help with your marketing efforts, visit our website!

Humanizing your Digital Strategy

Screen-Shot-2013-07-24-at-3.25.44-PMWe tend to trust our friends more than a business or a brand. So when your friend tells you something about a brand, you’re more likely to believe what they’re telling you rather than when a brand makes a claim. So how do you make your brand more trustworthy? How do we humanize our digital strategies?

Talk like a Person!
Shift your thinking and adjust your messaging to be more relationship focused rather than “salesy”.  Talking to your followers in a way that is not a sales pitch or corporate jargon is much more interesting to them, and they’re more likely to engage with you.

Usabilla reports that 79 percent of digital marketers will increase their content marketing budget in 2016, and 60 percent of marketers see the biggest challenge as producing engaging content. If you’re simply a mobile sales pitch, you’re going to annoy your followers and end up losing customers in the long run. Advertising a sale or a special offer gets some engagement at first, but too much sales talk will annoy your audience.

Interact with People
Respond to questions and comments from your followers. Better yet, ask them to engage with you by posing a question or asking for their input! According to Usabilla, 56 percent of customers are more likely to buy when given a personalized experience. And when someone responds to you, be sure you let them know that you’re reading their input by commenting on it, liking it or favoriting their response. This is a great way to start a real conversation that feels human-to-human rather than human-to-brand.

Show off your Team and Workspace
Your audience wants to be able to put a face to the words they read on your social platforms or your website. Take pictures or produce videos and webinars where your employees can show off their personalities. Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content according to Kissmetrics. Give your followers a glimpse into your working world and let them feel like they’re getting a behind-the-scenes tour. Doing this makes your followers feel closer to you, and will make them want to get to know your brand more.

Be Authentic and Transparent
Be mindful that all of your messaging should reflect your brand values to create authenticity. And if you make a mistake, whether it’s something little or something big, just come clean about it. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Humanize your brand by not covering these things up, but by owning your mistakes.

Your followers want to have a conversation with a person, not necessarily a business or a brand.  You can improve your digital strategy by making engagement with your followers feel like they’re talking with a friend, rather than a business. For more information on how to humanize your digital strategy, give the experts at TAG a call or visit us online!