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.

button_lets-talk

Which is Better for Your Brand: Snapchat or Instagram?

59% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram (via SproutSocial) while Snapchat reaches 41% of 18-34 year olds in the U.S. every day (via Smart Insights). Needless to say, if you’re not on at least one of these platforms, you’re missing out on marketing to a large, and important, audience.

While Instagram and Snapchat are similar, the two cater to different audiences, with different content that can be interacted with in different ways, so we’re breaking it down to help you figure out which platform is best for your business.

 Similarities

Instagram was released in October 2010, just shy of a year before Snapchat’s launch in September 2011. Instagram and Snapchat allow their users to share their experiences through images, and both platforms eventually expanded to incorporate video.

Snapchat originated the “stories” concept early into its existence. A “story” gives you the option to share one or more photos and/or videos for up to 24 hours with your friends. Instagram implemented its “stories” feature in August of 2016 and, for many, blurred the lines between the two platforms. As you’ll learn below, Snapchat and Instagram are still very different when it comes to audiences and content.

Audiences

Instagram caters to an older audience when compared to Snapchat. 59% of its audience is made up of 18-29 year olds, with 30-49 year-olds making up 33% of its audience.

Instagram’s audience base is also more educated than audiences on other social platforms. 37% of adults with some college experience use Instagram and college graduates make up 33% of its users.

Instagram’s income demographic reinforces the fact that its users are college educated, as 37% of adults who make more than $75,000 are on the platform.

Source: SproutSocial

Snapchat is the most-used social platform for people aged 12-24. In fact, 13-24 year-olds account for 60% of Snapchat’s total audience. According to MediaKix, 60% of college students would purchase from a brand if they were sent a coupon on Snapchat and 77% of college students use the platform daily, averaging 25-30 minutes.

Source: Smart Insights

Content

(Fun fact: Kylie Jenner revealed in her E! series Life of Kylie that she pays nothing for advertising. The 20-year-old CEO of Kylie Cosmetics says that the only advertising she does is on her personal Instagram and Snapchat accounts.)

Snapchat and Instagram both offer a platform for people to share photos and videos, but the content being shared differs.

Content on Instagram is often edited and refined. Brands are easily found on the platform, and the content shared is accessible by anyone, as long as your account is not set as “private.” Posts on Instagram also have a longer life-span, as once they are “posted,” they’re available for people to look at and interact with forever (or until the person who posted it, deletes it).

Unlike Instagram, most of the content that’s shared on Snapchat is typically between two “private” accounts and isn’t open to the public. However, there are public profiles (brands, celebrities, public figures, etc.) and the content that’s posted from those accounts is raw and unrefined. This kind of authentic content really resonates with Gen Z, as they feel that the brands that share raw and real content are more trustworthy.

A lot of brands find success using Snapchat geofilters, which can be designed on Snapchat’s website with their pre-made templates, or personally designed and uploaded (Geofilters are photo and video overlays that are accessed within a set location). For example, if your business is putting on an event where you know a lot of its audience members will be on Snapchat (concerts, fairs, etc.), then a geofilter would be an easy, effective and cost-efficient way for that audience to interact with your brand.

Interactions

The content is different on each platform, so the way it’s interacted with is different, too.

Content on Instagram can feature custom hashtags, users may tag other businesses or people, and there’s the ability to “like,” “comment,” “share,” “save,” and “send” photos and videos. In fact, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded, according to SproutSocial. Much like posts on Facebook, when you’re posting to Instagram, you also have the ability to select a location to associate your post with, giving that piece of content yet another way to be found.

When Snapchats are played, users have the ability to privately respond either via text or by snapping back a photo or video. Recently, Snapchat gave its users the ability to attach a link to their posts when users swipe up, giving brands the ability to track traffic from Snapchat more easily. On Snapchat, users can also see who has viewed their posts, who has replayed a snap and which users have taken a screen shot of the post.

What’s best for your brand?

Now that you know the differences between Snapchat and Instagram you could go frolic in a field and throw paper hearts in the air in celebration (thanks for the transition, Chris Pratt), OR you could get serious about your social strategy and call TAG! Let’s talk about which platform is best for your brand.

button_lets-talk

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.

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!

Is Your Brand Right for Instagram?

Instagram is growing exponentially! With more than 400 million users, Instagram is a favorite social networking site among millennials. Is your business considering using Instagram? Before you get started, there are a few things you should consider.

The first thing you should think about is whether your brand is right for the audience that’s on Instagram.

  • The Instagram audience is pretty evenly split between men and women
  • 52 percent of users are between 18 and 29 years old
  • 24 percent of users have a college degree or higher
  • 53 percent make more than 50 thousand dollars annually

A great thing about Instagram is it’s truly one of the most personal networks, that allows your brand to share your story, background, history and vision in an engaging, visual way

Showcase customers using products or services
Showcase your products in new and interesting ways, and allow your followers to “window shop” through your Instagram account. For example, if you own a company that sells makeup, you can use photos and videos to showcase how your products are used by your customers. Plus, people LOVE to see themselves featured on social media platforms!

Go behind-the-scenes
Show your followers some great behind-the-scenes images that display your company culture. Snapping a photo of team members working or enjoying themselves is a great way to offer your followers an exclusive look into your working world.

Utilize hashtags
Don’t forget to take advantage of trending hashtags to give your message more exposure. Using hashtags that apply to your industry is a great way to play into what your brand is all about while engaging your target audience at the same time!

Content
Be sure you take the time to really think about your content strategy and plan what types of photos and videos you want to be using. There are a few tips and tricks you can use to increase engagement, including the following:

  • Posting a photo without a filter receives more engagement than a photo with a filter
  • Utilize the color blue to increase engagement—you’ll see about a 24 percent higher engagement rate in these photos

Don’t forget to share your Instagram content on other platforms, as well! Instagram makes it easy to share your content on other social networking sites by giving you the option to share on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and more. And did you know that you can display your Facebook Ads on Instagram, too? This can help you get more bang for your buck out of your Instagram marketing!

 

Is your brand ready to take the plunge into Instagram? If you need help with your Instagram marketing, or any other social media strategy, be sure you give the experts at TAG a call, or visit us online!

 

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

5 Tips for Instagram for your Business

Instagram is an app that allows users to post photos and videos and add artistic filters to them. It is a perfect way for a business to market to customers while having fun at the same time.

1) Behind the Scene Photos
Instagram is a great way to show your customers and followers what you’re doing behind the scenes. Consider posting photos showing your company, employees or products that people wouldn’t see without Instagram. For example, post photos of your employees and what they are doing to create the product.
2) Capture Close-ups
Instagram images only post 612 pixels square. People viewing your photos are most likely on their smart phone. Take close-up photos instead of wide shots. By doing this you will capture the essential parts of the photo you want and followers won’t have to squint to see what you’re posting.
3) Follow Your Company’s Interests
Searching users for people you know is a good way to follow people. Once you’ve found all of the people you would like to follow search for tags instead. For example, if you were an outdoor store search tags such as: #Outdoors, #RockClimbing or #TrailRunning.
4) Add an Icon
Link your Instagram to your website by adding the Instagram icon and have it connect directly to your profile. If someone is on your website, you can keep the connection if they follow you and integrate your marketing efforts.
5) Connect Your Posts to your other Profiles
Instagram allows you to post photos to a variety of social media outlets. You can share your photos to just Instagram, or by connecting your other profiles, you can also send them to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr  and Tumblr, reaching a wider audience.
Stephanie DePasquale-Soebbing, Social Media Marketing Manager