Video might be the secret digital marketing ingredient you haven’t added yet

Online Video

A solid digital marketing recipe takes more than just sugar and spice. Video is the zest of the social media world. If it’s not in your strategy, its absence is definitely noticeable at a time when a good branded video experience can make 39 percent of viewers more likely to research your brand or product further and 19 percent more likely to share other content from your brand.

So, here are some video-sharing platforms to consider integrating into your digital marketing strategy—and fast.

YouTube

YouTube ranks as the world’s second largest social network and second largest search engine, meaning posting video to YouTube puts you in a good place to be found by potential customers. And, YouTube is getting into the e-commerce referral game with interactive features allowing viewers to buy products and services directly from the video platform.

Facebook

Video will rule Facebook in 2015. In the last year alone, video uploads have increased by 94 percent with Americans watching at least one video on the social network each day. Users will see four times more video in their Newsfeed in 2015—will your video be one of them?

Twitter

Twitter is introducing Promoted Video in 2015. Video ads will autoplay for six seconds, and Twitter’s beta test found that these native videos generate better engagement and more views than before. In addition to better user experience, these promoted videos also offer a Cost Per View ad buying model—meaning marketers only pay when a user clicks to play the video.

Instagram

200-million users strong, Instagram generates high engagement rates with 15 times more engagement than Facebook and 40 times more engagement than Twitter. And, this Facebook-owned platform now offers 15-second autoplay video advertising spots, though targeting ability is not as advanced as other channels. If brands can tailor their content to Instagram’s aesthetics, they can really bring in the engagement from this platform’s new sponsored videos.

Snapchat

Snapchat is growing as a marketing tool, allowing businesses to share messaging while being casual and relatable to their audience. Snapchat is perfect for showcasing your personality, and it’s also a good choice for teasing products, promoting sales and even hosting contests.

 

While there are many other video-hosting platforms available, these are the major players for 2015, and it will pay off BIG TIME to get them into your digital marketing strategy. From social media platforms to email campaigns to websites, video is perfect for showing off your brand and sharing your messaging in an engaging, meaningful way that drives traffic and conversion across channels.

For help creating an integrated digital marketing strategy that makes the most of video, get in touch with the team at TAG!

Are you leading, but losing? Four reasons every CEO should go social

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Social media is the new normal. We utilize social platforms to connect with family and friends, but they have also fundamentally changed the way businesses communicate with consumers. However, while brands are embracing social media, many CEOs aren’t. So while you are effectively leading your organization, you might be losing when it comes to social.

A study by Weber Shandwick surveyed C-level executives about their CEO’s use of social platforms. Of those surveyed, 76 percent think it’s a good idea and want their CEO to be actively engaged in social media to help build business and establish trust in their industry. Take our advice (and your C-level executive’s!) and start engaging on social now!

Here are four reasons every CEO should embrace social media: to showcase innovation, communicate and build relationships, build your business’ reputation and see tangible results. 

Showcase innovation

Be the first to do it, and do it right – that’s innovation. Use social media as a platform to be seen as an innovative leader in your industry. Connect with other executives and groups on LinkedIn to share industry insights, company blogs and awards. Lead your marketing team to create a strategy for a LinkedIn business page and build up a base of followers who want to know more about YOUR company.

John Legare

Create a Twitter account that not only retweets company information but also shares interesting articles, engages people in conversation and even adds humor and personality to your work. Feel free to tag other businesses and create friendly competition in the Twittersphere.

Communicate and build relationships

Being socially active allows you to communicate while building relationships with key influencers, potential clients, your colleagues and your staff. When used effectively to connect, CEOs who use social media make their employees feel inspired, technologically advanced and proud to work for an employer who embraces the future of communication while giving their company a face and personality.

Social CEO - Benefits

Build your business’ reputation

In 2014, consumers make judgments about your business’ reputation based on what they find online, and 82 percent of consumers put more trust into a company whose CEO has a Twitter account. Does your company stand out as a leader? Adding social to your personal strategy allows you to spread more positive information about your business, become an innovative leader in your industry and cultivate a strategy to always be top of mind with your target demographic. After all, social media is where your prospects, employees, current customers and peers are looking for you.

Richard Branson

Connect and see results

Social media is a two-way conversation. Make sure you listen to what people are saying about you and your brand on social media. Ask questions, engage with and respond to your followers to create a meaningful connection that will lead to brand loyalty, new business and sales. Be your company’s secret social media sauce when it comes to sales by inspiring those following you.

Bill Gates

Over the next five years, trends predict that 50 percent more CEOs will be actively using social media. You can no longer sit on the sidelines – stand out as a leader with smart social today!
Follow our CEO Mike Vondran on Twitter @TAGMikeV and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn more about TAG’s social media marketing strategies and services.

*Studies and infographic from Weber Shandwick.

The 2014 World Cup: A Social Media Phenomenon

About half the population of the world tuned in to the 2014 World Cup football tournament. An event that big was bound to create a buzz on social media, but the numbers are staggering—record-shattering, in fact.

The #GERvARG final boasts the highest number of tweets per minute ever.

Examining Twitter alone, staggering numbers of tweets were sent from all over the planet. Tweets about the World Cup peaked at 618,725 tweets per minute (during the final match between Germany and Argentina), breaking the tweets per minute (TPM) record. The Brazil versus Germany semi-final broke the record for most-tweeted event ever at 35.6 million tweets, and by the end of the final game the World Cup saw 672 million total tweets.

On Facebook, the final stats boast 350 million users interacting with over three billion posts about the World Cup between June 12 and July 13.

In one of the first astounding social phenomena of the World Cup, over 10 million Facebook fans compiled 20 million interactions during the United States versus Portugal match on June 22, and the game boasted a larger television viewership than the average for the 2013 World Series—by 10 million viewers.

The 2014 World Cup not only outstripped the 2013 World Series on television, it was also bigger on social media venues in the United States than the Super Bowl or even the Olympic Games. These are impressive statistics for a country in which soccer is generally treated like the red-headed stepchild.

Twitter page

Part of this is due to the accessibility of World Cup content on social media. Facebook users could follow the official FIFA World Cup page and follow or join real-time conversation on the Trending World Cup page. Twitter jumped head-long into the World Cup spirit, adding a sidebar with the World Cup schedule and hosting a World Cup page with schedules, scoreboards and trending posts.

Consistent branding also allowed FIFA and social media platforms to aid recognition and interaction with World Cup content. One means of doing this was through creating and collecting identifiable hashtags and handles, from teams and players to individual matches to multilingual incarnations.

Individual matches could be followed in real-time on pages that collected tweets specifically pertaining to that match. Hashflags were born, miniature national flags appearing next to the names of hashtagged countries like #USA (United States), #ESP (Spain) or #MEX (Mexico) and adding a little something extra to World Cup mentions.

FIFA

Finally, users posted about the World Cup because they were asked to. Both Facebook and Twitter prompted users to engage with special entry bars on official pages. Twitter even set up a “World Cup of Tweets” bracket, showing which teams would advance purely based on the number of hashflag mentions each country received. The FIFA website kept a feed of trending teams, players and tweets, inviting visitors to “#joinin the conversation” with a tweet or Facebook post.

Geotag

Whether due to the overall accessibility, recognizability or direct invitation to engage, users have indeed engaged globally in this event. In social media venues, at least, the 2014 World Cup shows a world that is truly #allin.

To harness some of that power and reach when promoting your own social media campaign, keep those three characteristics in mind. Content should be accessible, branded and inviting. These are strengths found in TAG’s successful social media strategies, as well. Learn more about our strategic planning process here.

The TAG team studies events and campaigns like the World Cup to stay on the cutting edge of innovative and successful digital marketing. For creative solutions to your social media needs, TAG… we’re it!

Eight questions to ask before hiring a marketing firm

Choosing the right marketing firm for your business can be a lengthy and sometimes expensive process. With thousands of different marketing firms available worldwide, who all offer great design and a wide variety of conventional and digital marketing services, choosing the wrong partner can be very expensive and can hurt your brand. You have to research your options and make sure that the firm is the right fit for you, your brand and your business goals.

Here are 8 questions that will help you make the right decision

Do they practice what they preach?

You wouldn’t trust a dentist with bad teeth or a tailor in ill-fitting clothes, would you? When you are researching marketing firms check their website, social media pages and online search ranking. Most marketing firms will display their top capabilities on their own website. Make sure that the site is mobile friendly and research the quality of their content. For social media, see how often they post, what type of content they share, and how much engagement there is.

Who are their clients?

Depending on what type of business you have, you want to make sure the marketing firm can handle all your needs but also gives you the attention that you require. A good balance of large clients and smaller clients is recommended. If you compete in a certain industry, it helps if the firm has previous experience in a related sector as well.

Are they forward thinking?

The marketing industry moves fast. What worked two years ago might already be replaced by something completely new. You want to make sure that the marketing firm understands the most current marketing strategies. Check out their blog to see how often they post and how current their content is. A good marketing firm understands that it is their job to be your trusted marketing partner and keep you up to date on the latest marketing techniques and development to ensure you reach the highest return on investment.

Do they understand digital?

Every business needs an online strategy. With new online marketing solutions such as inbound marketing, social media marketing and Search Engine Optimization, it is key that your marketing firm understands the most current digital marketing strategies. To make sure that your digital brand messaging is in sync with your conventional brand messaging, a full service marketing firm with a strong digital department that can handle all your communication needs is the better choice.

How do they gain insight into your customers and prospects?

To make smart marketing decisions, your marketing firm needs to understand your customers and prospects. You want to make sure that your messaging speaks to your audience and converts impressions into leads or sales. Having a firm that understands your market and your industry and that utilizes marketing research information and industry information to make smart marketing decisions is key.

Do they take the time to understand your business?

In order for a firm to put together a solid marketing campaign, they have to understand your business. You trust them with your most valuable asset, and if they do not take adequate time to learn about your business, you should walk away. The marketing firm needs to understand your history, your vision, your ideal customers, your market area and your business goals. A good marketing firm creates a consistent message across all media that matches your business communication style and your vision. It creates an identity.

Do they explain their processes and do they outsource any of their services?

With more complex services such as Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing, some firms will outsource this to save internal costs. It is very important that you understand who performs these services and what their processes are. Having the experts in house also streamlines the process and ensures that they understand your brand message and your marketing goals.

How long have they been in business?

The marketing services industry is very competitive. If the firm folds in the middle of your campaign, you will have to put it on hold and hope that you can convert everything to a new firm. This can be a lengthy and expensive process. Although you can never be 100 percent sure on this, marketing firms that have been in business for multiple years, who bring in new clients on a regular basis and are current on the most recent marketing techniques will be your best choice.

 

We think that TAG is your best option when it comes to working with a marketing firm, but we challenge you to come in and ask us these questions for yourself! Contact us today to start your marketing off on the right foot! TAG…we’re it!

Growing with the region

Policom Ranking

Over the past few years, the Quad Cities region has boomed with activity. From downtown developments, to large scale industrial expansions and residential spurs to the promise of high-speed rail service, the Quad Cities is certainly not lacking in growth.

At TAG, we are proud to call the Quad Cities home. Doing business in a community that embraces the need for growth, change and development, mirrors our internal vision.

We see the development around us as an opportunity to support the companies and industries we serve. As the Quad Cities region continues to bound with progress, so does TAG. Economic growth allows us to hire new, creative staff, expand business opportunities, innovate and create new strategy.

Is your business’ marketing and strategy prepared for growth with the region? What should you be thinking about as your business grows?

  • Communicating your vision: who are you as a company and how do you project your value to the region?
  • Planning for success: are you creating a road map for success when it comes to budget, priorities and timeline?
  • Evaluating progress and staying proactive: strategy is not a set it and forget it plan. Are you consistently evaluating and making changes?

At TAG, we’ve developed a way to help businesses create strategies and tactics that continue to move business forward to achieve long term goals and objectives.

Are you ready to keep growing? Find out how TAG can help!

 

Salesman or Spokesman?

Social media means something to everyone, even if you aren’t an active user. For some it’s a social hangout, to others it’s a way to publicize business. For advertisers, social media is a tool that changed the industry. Honestly, it changed the world, but that’s another story.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Paid Search, Pinterest, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, Foursquare, etc. What do they all have in common? Well, they all have the potential to generate sales. Yes, sales. The purpose behind social marketing can be seen as two fold; to build an audience while also building brand loyalty and to drive sales.

Steps for Social sales success:

  1. Strategy: As advertisers, we start with a strategy – first priority is to identify what platforms fit our clients need. Why do you want to use social media for your business? How can you use social media to sell your story?
  2. Platform: Which social media platforms are right for your business? There are multiple ways to reach your customers. Don’t limit yourself to the traditional Facebook and Twitter platforms.
  3. Delivery: How will you tell the story you want customers to hear? Connecting the dots from brick and mortar to virtual and back again. Aiding in a clients understanding of the work we do for them also helps connect the dots to the success of their business.

Take a company like Patagonia. Their Facebook page doesn’t have advertisements for products they sell; it has stories about the people that use their products. The stories they share depict a lifestyle that lives and breathes their mission. By sharing these stories Patagonia grows their own customer base. People read the stories and become inspired to live their life along the mission of Patagonia. This inspiration should be every company’s goal when it comes to implementing social media.

At TAG, we understand the value in a social presence for your business. We also understand the complications that go along with having a social presence. Lucky for you, we’re here to help! Check out our white paper on social media for your business by clicking here to get you started.

Case study: Facebook contesting to promote events

The annual, Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival has brought jazz music lovers together throughout the Quad Cities for decades. But, the Board of Directors in 2013 wanted to expand the festival audience by marketing to major cities throughout the country while on a limited budget.

To accomplish this, the TAG Team created a Facebook contest, offering a grand prize of free passes to the concert, a weekend hotel stay and a $100 gas card for travel expenses.

The contest was marketed in five major metros across the country using Facebook ads targeted at traditional jazz fans. The advertising medium allowed TAG to hit a highly targeted audience for about $1 cost per thousand, a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.

Contest entrants had to like the Facebook page and sign up for email marketing messages so the Jazz Society could continue to market to them after the contest ended.

  • Nearly 67,500 people were reached
  • 139 emails were collected
  • Contest entrants came in from 78 different zip codes within target markets.

 

Click on the link to see this and other case studies.

http://www.tagmarcom.com/solutions/case-studies/bix-beiderbecke-memorial-jazz-festival-facebook-contest

How to tell it is time for a new logo

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A first impression is memorable.  A quality logo will help your business stand out from its competition and keep your customers at your side.

Here are five tips for a fresh look:

  1. Keep it simple – The company name should be easy to read and the typography thought out. The icon shouldn’t be confusing. You wouldn’t put a whimsical font in a doctor’s office.
  2. Make it applicable – Your logo should be versatile enough to use in various formats: pens, signage, letterheads, etc.
  3. Don’t go back in time – What was popular 15 years ago isn’t now.  A logo does not need to be trendy.
  4. Recognize it – A successful logo is easily recognized and professional. Don’t overdo it and don’t change a logo out of boredom. The general public doesn’t see the brand as often as you might think.
  5. Make it appealing – A logo can be the difference between a product being appealing or not. When you’re at the store choosing to buy something, a well-designed logo and label might help make the decision for you.

If your logo falls short, it could be time to say goodbye and start over.

Don’t know where to start? Ask one of our TAG Graphic Designers Brian Buckles and Chelsea Liske.

 

Why White Space is Important in Design

Print

What was the first thing you noticed about this banner? Chances are it was either the happy couple or Something Borrowed, they both drive home the same message. It was effective in standing out because it was not overcrowded with copy, images and logos.

Using white space is an effective way to draw your eye to a particular point, and can also improve message retention. But in order to use white space effectively you have to know what it really is.

It’s a simple answer isn’t it? But white space, also known as negative space, is more than just a blank canvas. That “white” area could actually be composed of color or texture. It even exists in those spaces between and around words. The most professional-looking ads have been designed with white space in mind.

Many times people want to fill every square inch of the space. However, it is better to use the less is more approach, and use negative space to put the emphasis on actual content. When you don’t use negative space, the viewer is overwhelmed by images and text, making it difficult to retain the message. You can’t do that without some white space.

These elements are the most important when it comes to using white space:

  1. Consider the main message  – Be sure that you are surrounding the most important part of your ad with enough white space.
  2. Who is the customer  – They are not all the same, you need to adjust accordingly.
  3.  Appropriate margins – To help the ad look purposefully designed, use enough negative space so that you don’t crowd the edges. This doesn’t mean that elements of the ad can’t bleed to the edges, but your core message needs to be surrounded by enough white space. Sometimes this may mean that you need to reduce the size of text or an image for it to be more effective.
  4. Create a hierarchy – Adjusting the white space around visual elements can create various levels of importance and help the eye move through the ad.

Chelsea Liske, Graphic Designer

Three ways Google AdWords can amp up your online advertising game

Google tops more than five billion searches daily and reaches more then 80 percent of all Internet users worldwide.

It’s no surprise then, its advertising service Google AdWords is so successful. It allows businesses to showcase their products and services on all that is Google – at a scalable fee.

Read on for three ways Google AdWords can amp up your online advertising game.

Paid Search

Google users rarely visit page two of their search results. Therefore, when a website is not organically in this top dozen or so, Google AdWords’ paid search helps boost traffic to the site by placing a link to the webpage either at the top or side sidebar of the search list.

Under the umbrella of paid search are extensions. The increasing number of blue underlined phone numbers and addresses under search results make getting into contact with businesses easier than ever. Desktop users no longer have to click on the site and search for this information and smartphone users can instantly call or get directions to the business.

Online Display

Online display allows you to show your advertisement on virtually any webpage. Simply choose your geographical target options (location, age, gender, etc.) and it will be displayed on a related site.

Remarketing

The latest addition to Google AdWords, remarketing is the process of “tagging” Internet users who visit your site, and then having your ads follow the person to where they cyber surf next.

For example, when your customer purchases an item from your website, they will see more frequent advertisements from your business on any website they visit in the future. Creepy, maybe. Effective, yes.

Specific strategies and target tactics are the backbone to a successful Google Ads campaign. The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. Email me today for TAG Team expert assistance in managing your Google Ads.

Brian Marshall is Google AdWords certified.