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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marketing 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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We 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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!