TAG! You’re It!

Meet Zach O’Connell! ZO_3

Zach recently celebrated his two-year anniversary at TAG and has been creating inventive designs and eating oatmeal every morning but today, we ask him about his creative process and other thought-provoking questions.

If you had to describe yourself using a kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?

I am a knife because of how sharp I am.

What helps you get into that creative space to design?

I am most creative when I am able to really focus on what I’m doing with a clear mind, so I will do things like go on a walk during my lunch break to help me get into that space. I also do a lot of sketching quickly, get a lot of ideas out before taking it to the computer.

You have a time machine. You can go back to any time period to have dinner and conversation with 3 people. Who are they and why?

First, I would pick Walt Disney to hear about the humble beginnings of what has become a massive company.

Second, I would pick one of my ancestors like my great great grandfather because I don’t know really anything about them and it would be interesting to learn more about where I come from.

Third, Steve Jobs, because I could hear about the early days of Apple, but more importantly, I hope he would be able to tell me about the early days of Pixar as well.

Tell me one thing about design that everyone outside of that world might not understand?

How valuable it is.  A lot of work goes into making things look good and function well, and it can have a massive impact on how we interact with the world around us.

You find yourself trapped in the board game Jumanji, do you think you survive or is it Game Over? giphy

Am I allowed to watch the movie before entering the game, so I can remember how to get out? Regardless, I’ll make it out.

What are your 3 favorite projects you have worked on at TAG? 

Three of my favorite projects I’ve worked on are: Logo and website design for Smokestack, packaging re-design for Hungry Hobo, and I still think it’s cool when I see Genesis buses driving around town with artwork I created on them.

When is your ideal bed time?

I used to be a pretty devoted 11:00 pm guy, but recently I have been getting up earlier and have transitioned to more of a 10:00 pm person (sometimes it’s more like 9:30. Teenage me would be shocked).

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

My favorite part about working at TAG is getting to be creative with a great team every day!

TAG To Open Des Moines Branch Office

47577626_2630691396948486_3214311747179511808_nDavenport, December 5…TAG CEO, Mike Vondran, announced today the Quad Cities-based marketing and advertising organization will expand to Des Moines in January 2019. “We believe the market is ready,” says Vondran. “Our ‘brand-focused’ approach to marketing, combined with our expertise in both the latest digital and more traditional tactics has earned TAG a growing base of clients. Many of these organizations want to expand to new markets and we want to help them succeed in that effort. Moreover, we believe there’s significant unmet demand in the Des Moines region for a true full-service agency, providing ‘one-stop’ brand marketing support.”

The new TAG office will be located at 100 East Grand Avenue in the East Village/Capitol Hill area of Des Moines. “This new location will serve as a ‘home base’ for TAG operations in Polk and neighboring counties,” says Vondran. “Already, TAG brand management staff is working with clients throughout central Iowa, including Clarke, Mahaska, Marion and Polk Counties.

According to Vondran, the new location will also improve the organization’s ability to meet the state government relations needs of current and prospective TAG clients. Vondran adds, “Today’s more savvy clients recognize the value of a comprehensive branding program that includes web-based social media, traditional advertising and promotions programs, and an effective ‘influencer’ strategy that includes trade associations, community organizations and federal, state and local government relations.”

In addition to its current headquarters in downtown Davenport, TAG also maintains an office in Dubuque, serving clients in that tri-state market.

ADA Website Compliance

The United States Department of Justice has determined that failing to meet the current “AA” level of WCAG 2.0 violates the equal access rights of those with disabilities or limitations. Lawsuits filed across the nation have resulted in significant verdicts and settlements, disruption in business operations and loss of goodwill. Here are a few lawsuits that have been filed:

  • Target – $6,020,000 settlement
    • National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation
      Nat’l Fed’n of the Blind v. Scribd Inc., 97 F. Supp. 3d 565 (D. Vt. 2015)
  • H&R Block – $100,000 settlement
    • National Federation of the Blind v. HRB Digital L.L.C.
      National Fed’n of the Blind v. HRB Digital L.L.C., 2014 WL 10319389
  • Pizza Hut – Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, Dismissal or Stay denied.
    • Robles v. Yum! Brands, Inc.
      Robles v. Yum! Brands, Inc., No. 216CV08211ODWSS, 2018 WL 566781, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2018)
  • 1-800-Flowers – Motion to dismiss denied
    • Gathers v. 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc.
      Gathers v. 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc., No. 17-CV-10273-IT, 2018 WL 839381, at *2 (D. Mass. Feb. 12, 2018)

48.9 million Americans are considered disabled. By making your website compliant, you can make your organization accessible to millions of people. WCAG 2.0 was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the highest authority in web accessibility goals and universal design. Published by W3C, the WCAG 2.0 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is a set of guidelines for making digital content accessible for all users, including those with disabilities. TAG’s developers can make your website compliant with these standards.

Did you miss our recent seminar on online compliance regulations? Watch the full seminar below!

You’ll learn: 

    • What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
    • Who does the ADA apply to?
    • Lessons from recent lawsuits
    • Benefits of a compliant website
    • How is website compliance measured?
    • The new standard: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
    • Synopsis: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    • Synopsis: Website security

Request a compliance quote from TAG, here.

TAG! You’re It!

Meet Emily Field!

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If you had to describe yourself using three inanimate objects, what would they be?

A house plant – I’m always looking for ways to grow, both personally and professionally. Plus, in this cold Iowa weather, you won’t catch me dead outside.

A planner – Organization is my middle name, or so I think it should be.

Laffy taffy – I think laughter is the best medicine out there, next to red wine, of course. Plus, I’m a total sweet tooth!

So, Emily, we hear you have a dog by the name of Pierce. If you could dress Pierce up in any costume what would it be?

You know how everyone claims they have the best dog?! I find it hard to believe! Clearly, they haven’t met Pierce. Recently, Pierce dressed up as a Beanie Baby for Halloween! I don’t know about you, but I sure thought he looked like one handsome fella!

Pierce

TAG sends you on an airplane over the Pacific to have a meeting with a client. The plane malfunctions leaving you on a deserted island. You have one book, one movie, and one other object with you. What are they?

  • The Woman in Cabin 10. If you haven’t picked this page-turner up, do so immediately!
  • Do nine seasons of The Office count as one movie?
  • Of course, Pierce. Someone has to keep me company!

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

The list really does go on and on. Every day I come to work I learn something new and am challenged to think in fresh, new ways for each and every one of our clients. Every member of the creative team surrounds me with constant support – they really are my own set of personal cheerleaders!

How to Create a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

You start your day getting up, showering, brushing your teeth, grabbing a cup of coffee on the run and finally making it to the office. What’s the first thing you do? Check your email. We all do it. In fact, the average office worker receives 120 emails every day! With so much to sift through, a lot of emails can get lost in the shuffle. Create a successful email marketing strategy to keep your company top-of-mind and to engage with both current and prospective customers.

Create Segmented Email Lists

Have you been sending every email to every person who’s ever subscribed to your emails? Yikes! It’s time for that to change. To continue to build your email lists you can solicit subscriptions on your website and social sites. But, instead of simply having an individual provide their name and email address, create a more robust form. After they provide the basics, ask additional questions to get to know the customer. How often do they want to receive emails from you? What are they interested in hearing about from your business? What do their buying habits look like? Questions like this will allow for you to create separate email lists and speak directly to their interests when crafting your emails, increasing your chances of conversion.

Establish Your End Goal

Before you begin writing your email, start by figuring out what it is that you want your audience to do. Are you looking to increase traffic to your website? Attend an event? Write a review? Then, what does a successful campaign look like for that specific objective? Not only will this strategy help you to write your send, but it will also prove to be beneficial when it comes the measuring its success and showing real, measurable ROI.

Content Creation

Once you’ve established a goal for your email, writing will be a breeze! Make sure the content provides your audience with enough information to pique their interest, but short enough to where they aren’t reading paragraphs. Call-to-action buttons (Learn More, Contact Us, RSVP, Book An Appointment, etc.) are particularly helpful in inciting action from your audience while increasing the chances of a click-through to a website or other landing page. Make the content as personal as possible. Sprinkle in verbiage that makes your audience feel like you’re just talking to them, as opposed to the hundreds of people on your list.

Mind Your Design

When writing your email, incorporate as much of your brand as possible – i.e. logos, color schemes, fonts, etc. so that it’s an accurate representation of your brand standards and so that your audience can identify that the email is from you and isn’t spam. Before you go ahead and schedule your email or press “send,” send a preview to yourself and view it on a mobile device, desktop and tablet to catch any formatting issues proactively rather than retroactively.

Consistency is Key

Remember when we were creating segmented email lists and asked our audience how often they’d like to hear from us? Well, it’s time to make good on those requests. Some people may want to hear from you once every week, while others may opt for less frequent communication. Or, if you can’t commit to sending more than a couple emails every month, tell them! It’s important to set a clear expectation up front and then follow through.

Analyze

Email isn’t something you can “set and forget.” Every month, sit down and look at how each individual email performed. What were your open, delivery, and click-through rates? Does certain content receive more engagement than others? What kind of devices is your audience using to open and view your emails on? Do certain times of the (AM/PM) day have an effect on email performance? After each send, take a look at your email’s data and draw some conclusions in order to determine the most valuable content for your consumers and your business.

Want more? Let’s talk! TAG’s Digital Media Team can help you in all areas of Email Marketing – from design and email list creation to copy, and beyond!

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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.

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Bring Your Social Media Customer Service to Life

Bring Your Social Media Customer Service to Life

A strong social presence allows you to communicate with your customers and build lasting relationships with core target markets and niches. A study by Bain & Company suggests that when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers, on average, end up spending 20 to 40 percent more with the company. With all the potential social media has tooffer your business, you need to make sure that your social media customer service is top-notch. Here are a few tips to help bring your online customer service experience to life.

Ditch the ScriptDitch the Script While automation is great in most aspects of life, when it comes to responding to customers on social media, you want your responses to be personalized and personable. Responding with personalized messages is time consuming, but we promise that your customers will appreciate your attention to detail and embrace your customer-first focus.

Really listen Talking and responding to customers via social media opens the door to new avenues of truly understanding their needs, wants and concerns. It’s important to stay up-to-date with what consumers are saying about your business on a daily basis, and take into consideration their comments. If consumer comments are consistently negative, think about ways your business could utilize their comments to better your customer experience. If comments are positive, give yourself a pat on the back, and then respond thanking them for their support. Anything you can do to show your audience that you’re listening is great!  

Be speedy When it comes to responding to customers on social media, speed matters. In fact, 32 percent of social media users expect a response with 30 minutes, and 42 percent expect a response within 60 minutes.Bottom line, make every effort you can to respond to your customers as quickly as you can.

Take things offline OfflineNot every issue can be resolved via social media. Sometimes,responses require sensitive customer information and need to be taken offline, or transferred to another channel, like email or phone. But just remember to do this in a way that will not annoy the customer. One study revealed that 37 percent of respondents mentioned that “getting passed around” from agent to agent, or department to department, is a major source of frustration. When taking things offline, do so in a friendly manor, kindly asking your customer to call a specific number or to email your business to further discuss their concerns.   By delivering a great customer experience via social media, you can build longer and stronger relationships, and create more loyal customers. The social media team at TAG understands the importance of a timely social media customer service strategy, and will work with you to ensure that your customers are happy and being heard. Contact us today to learn more!

The Value of Social Video

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is made up of 24 pictures in each second! Are you incorporating the use of video into your social media strategy? Video captures a moment in a unique way that words and photos cannot.

According to Cisco, 80 percent of global Internet traffic will be video by 2019.  The use of video on social media platforms is exploding—with no sign of slowing down.  Whether your business uses Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or multiple platforms, video needs to be an integral part of your action plan.

No matter what your industry, there’s a way that you can utilize social video to engage your target audience.

 

Give your audience a backstage pass

Give your followers a sneak peek into your day-to-day work or show off your silly side.  This is a great tool to let your followers get to know you better and to build brand loyalty.

#DanceParty Friday’s at the TAG office!

A video posted by TAG Communications (@thetag_team) on

 

How-to videos If you’re like us, your Facebook newsfeed is blowing up with videos of people making amazing looking food and showing you how. Utilizing video to show your followers how to do something is one of the easiest and engaging ways to create content.

       

 

Show off your talents Show off your talents or how to do something in your videos. You can use your social media platforms and video to highlight your skills and talents. These videos are mesmerizing and engaging!

 

 

Highlight your products, or launch a new one 

Show off your products in a fun way that appeals to your audience’s interest and curiosity.

 

 

Facebook’s Algorithm Update

Social video is growing increasingly important with updates to Facebook’s algorithm.  With this update, Facebook will put more emphasis on the use of native video files. Your content is more likely to show up in your followers’ newsfeeds after this update when you embed a video in your status updates, rather than sharing a YouTube video link.

 

Video is a great way to engage your audience and add fun, compelling content to your social media library. TAG is your go-to source for creating professional-quality social videos to compliment a great social strategy, effectively engaging your target audience to take action. Visit our website today to get started on your first social video!

 

Five Key Social Media Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out

Five Key Social Media Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out

Are you ready to take your brand’s social media presence to the ultimate level? Make your business stand out amongst a sea of competitors with these five must-use social media marketing strategies.

1. Make your content stand out: How can you make your business stand out amongst your competitors? Easy—make your social media content stand out with eye-catching visuals, interesting links and crazy-good headlines. Programs such as Canva or Recite allow you to create engaging visuals with user-friendly platforms and step-by-step tutorials. When it comes to writing the ultimate social media headlines, keep in mind that less is more. In fact, headlines with eight words or less or proven to perform 21 percent better than longer headlines. It’s also been proven that headlines that end with a question mark or three explanation points get twice as many clicks than those without!!!

2. Strengthen your network: If you find that you are not getting the engagement you would like on your company’s social media platforms, it may be time to strengthen and expand your network. To do this, try creating or joining various LinkedIn groups to spark more connections and conversations around your products or services. You can also follow your competitors or industry-leaders’ profiles for some inspiration, and ensure you are keeping up with latest industry trends. It’s always a good idea to stay on top of what your competitors are up to.

How Often to Post3. Be consistent: In order to stay top-of-mind amongst your audiences, it’s important that you market and post consistently across all social media platforms. When it comes to posting, it’s important that you strike a balance between being informative and annoying; posting too much about your products can cause your consumers to become annoyed, and unfollow you. While frequency for posting varies from platform to platform, research suggests that the posting “sweet spot” for Facebook is two times per day, seven days a week. Publishing five to 10 posts per week is usually a good rule of thumb.

4. Show you care: Did you know that followers typically expect a response from companies within one hour of posting? Show your followers you care by responding to your followers’ comments and reviews—good or bad—in a timely manner. In addition to responding to customers, don’t be afraid to retweet customers’ praise and thank individual customers for their continued support. The more personal you can get with responses or posts, the better!

5. Go campaign crazy: In the age of diminishing organic social reach, paid campaigns offer a great way to expand your reach and thoroughly engage your audience. Now–a-days, companies with the best social media presence are using contests and other social media campaigns to successfully gain visibility and generate leads. To keep up with this trend, try providing your audience with valuable incentives that encourage audience participation, and platform your company as an industry-leader.

When it comes to leveraging your company’s social media presence, remember …. TAG, we’re it! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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!