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.

TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

AnneA Business Marketing & Management graduate of Augustana College, Anne Spoden serves as the Director of Digital Services at TAG. Working closely with clients to build innovative lead generation strategies, Anne enjoys helping clients attract and retain customers with fun, engaging marketing tactics.

What’s Anne’s favorite part about social media marketing?

“I love the human element that social media marketing brings to the table. Social media is ever-changing which also allows me to be creative and explore new possibilities for our clients.”

But before Anne decided she wanted to work in the marketing industry, she had a few other aspirations in mind.

“When I was little, I really wanted to be a teacher, like my mom. But after I realized that I have no patience, and a bit of a diva personality, I figured I should find another career path.”

And we’re so lucky she has chosen a career path at TAG!

“My favorite thing about working at TAG is the people—hands down. It’s rare that you get to work at a place where you actually like the people you work with. But at TAG, I can honestly say that I not only like my coworkers, but truly value the creativity and personality they bring to the table.”

When she’s not working or chowing down on cheeseburgers, you can find Anne either exploring the Quad Cities, or curled up on her couch binge-watching the Real Housewives.

“When I’m not at work, I like to spend time with my fiancé Jim. Together, we like to travel and explore new, fun places in the Quad Cities. I’m also a huge Real Housewives’ fan. In fact, one of my goals in life is to start a Real Housewives of the Quad Cities!”

She’s also loves to show off her hidden talent …

Anne Party Tricks

I’m double jointed. I can twist my arms all the way around, and bend my fingers back to my wrists. It’s gross, but makes for a great party trick! ”

You do you, Anne.

Oh yeah, and she’s also getting married this summer—congrats!!!

 

Did you enjoy learning more about Anne? Keep checking our blog for more awesome employee highlights! TAG, we’re it!

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

Discover some of the best food around when you try any of these local restaurants in Dubuque! We asked members of the TAG team in the Dubuque office what some of their favorite places to grab a bite are. Check them out and let us know what you think!

Lot One

AJWeb developer, Andrew Haas, is a big fan of Lot One.

“You can find a great craft beer selection and the best tacos in town at Lot One.”

This laid back watering hole has pub style food and a fantastic, casual atmosphere. And the Reubens are amazing—actually, everything’s great!

If you’re looking for a great breakfast place, check out Lot One’s Sunday Funday menu. Every Sunday they’re cooking up some of the best omelets and pancakes in the area! There’s something on the menu for everyone at Lot One.

Kathleen HerberRubix

We can’t start our day without our morning coffee. For Kathleen Herber, Vice President of the Tri-State market, that means making a trip to Rubix.

“Rubix has great coffee, welcoming staff and a great atmosphere. You can’t beat it!”

The key to the excellent coffee is their locally grown coffee beans. The menu also includes delicious food and fantastic organic juices as well. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their bacon chicken mac and cheese flatbread. If you’re looking for quick, delicious and diverse offerings, Rubix is your place!


L.May Eatery

We love L.May Eatery for the creative options, atmosphere and cocktails! From brick oven fired pizzas to amazing entrées that are changed seasonally, you literally can’t go wrong here! Better yet, they use locally grown ingredients and they have THE best sangria and martinis around. And the appetizer menu is fantastic, hands down best bruschetta in town!

You literally just can’t go wrong at L. May!

Copper Kettle

MikeThe Copper Kettle is a great place to relax with friends and family and enjoy great food and craft beers. The easygoing, lively bar & grill is a great spot for sports fans too, with multiple TVs. The service at Copper Kettle is fantastic and unparalleled.

From fresh salads and burgers to scotch eggs and white truffle parmesan fries, the eclectic menu is full of unique items. And if you haven’t tried the scotch egg yet, you should!

TAG CEO, Mike Vondran has been going to the Copper Kettle since he was a child.

“It’s fun to go back and have a flood of great memories every time. Besides, the food and service is outstanding.”

 

If you haven’t already, stop into the Copper Kettle, L. May Eatery, Rubix or Lot One for some of the best food around—you won’t regret it! These aren’t the only places that we love to frequent, but they’re some of our favorites. Is there a Dubuque restaurant we should be talking about? Let us know! Join our conversation on Facebook!

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

The Quad Cities is home to some awesomely creative and inspiring places! So, next time you’re looking to get inspired, be sure to check out one of these top four places to get creative in the Quad Cities—courtesy of the TAG team.

QC Co-Lab
The QC Co-Lab was established in 2010, and provides an excellent space for creative minds to make meaningful masterpieces! Promoting the areas of technology, science, engineering, art and music, the Co-Lab houses detailed project rooms, including industrial and electrical workshops, a library and classroom and a state-of-the-art AV studio. QC Co-Lab is available to non-members, as well as special events, workshops and a regular Open Houses every Saturday. A QC Co-Lab membership is $30 per month, but provides you access to any and all equipment or rooms you need for your project—what a great concept!
QC CoLab

Quad City Arts
Quad City Arts is a non-profit arts organization that focuses on advocating for local artists by providing the Quad Cities community with educational performing arts programs and services. What’s great about Quad City Arts, is that they offer year-round programming, so you can stay creative all year long. Whether looking to be inspired by up-and-coming artists, or wanting to take a more hands-on approach with visual workshops and events, Quad City Arts offers everything you need to channel your inner creativity and have fun.
QC Arts
Figge Art Museum
The Figge Art Museum is a premier art exhibition and education facility, located in the heart of downtown Davenport. Home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and host to world-class traveling exhibitions, the Figge is one of the best places in the Quad Cities to get your creative juices flowing. If looking at art isn’t your thing, the Figge also offers a variety of interactive art classes for both youth and adults. And, if you’re looking for a fun place to take your kids on a rainy springtime afternoon, their Artica Gallery / Family Activity Center offers a great imaginative spot to hang.
Figge
Crafted Quad Cities
Do you like to craft? Then you’ll love Crafted Quad Cities! Not only can you shop for adorable, hand-made items at Crafted Quad Cities, but they also host a variety of crafting classes—available on nights, days and weekends. If you’re ready to make stuff, they’re ready to help!
Crafted QC
Wherever you choose to get creative in the Quad Cities, all that matters is that you are finding a great place to express your inner creativity. Where are some of your favorite spots in the Quad Cities to get creative? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

The Benefits of Effective Email Marketing

The Benefits of Effective Email Marketing

In today’s world, businesses need to connect with their audience in a highly personalized way in order to gain their attention and acquire their business. Email Marketing allows you to do all that, plus so much more. Current research has shown that no marketing category—such as print, digital, broadcast and search marketing—has the longevity or proven results than that of Email Marketing. While some marketing trends may come and go, Email Marketing will remain a powerful channel of business to consumer communication for decades to come—and here’s why.

Maximize your Return on Investment (ROI)
Did you know that email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than traditional media marketing? There’s no printing costs, no postage fees and no advertising costs—it’s about as affordable as targeted marketing can get. In fact, email marketing has been shown to bring in $44.25 for every $1 spent, compared to only $27 for direct mail or $8 for print advertising.

Target your Customers Directly
What makes Email Marketing so great, is the fact that you can deliver highly-personalized and relevant content directly to the home—or hands—of your customers. You have the ability to control exactly who sees your email by segmenting your contacts based on location, interest, demographics or any segmentation you see fit. Targeting your emails ensures that your audience receives content that is specifically suited to their interests, and is relevant to their needs.

Increase Brand Awareness
Each time you send an email, you are exposing your audience to your brand and everything you have to offer. With custom content, smart layouts, creative design and targeted sends, you are increasing awareness of your brand with each and every send. Plus, email marketing is easily sharable. With the simple forward button, your subscribers can share your content, deals, images or links with their friends and family, further increasing your brand awareness.You can also directly embed links to your website, blog or social platforms so your audience can further engage with and learn about your brand.

Measure your Results
As with any campaign, it’s important to measure its results and evaluate your efforts. Email Marketing is extremely easy to measure, and provides precise and valuable marketing metrics for each email sent, such as delivery rate, open rate, bounce rate, spam reports and click-through distribution, so you can pinpoint exactly which strategies are working, and which are not. Better yet, these metrics give you insight into your customers’ personal behaviors and interests, so you can better target and strategize your campaigns moving forward.

Reach your Customers on Their Level
Unlike social platforms, email is a much more professional medium, where people expect to receive information about products and services— some even prefer it. Recent studies show that 72 percent of people prefer to receive promotional content through their emails, compared to 17 percent of people who prefer social media. Reaching your audience where they prefer most will result in greater open and click rates, ultimately helping you increase brand awareness and make sales.

Are you ready to deliver a powerful message to your consumers via Email Marketing? The Social Media team at TAG is ready to help you maximize your profits and reach your audience with strategic Email Marketing. Contact us today!

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

TAG Employee Highlight: Brian Buckles

A creative problem solver, Brian Buckles, Director of Design Services at TAG, works with our clients to help build their brands.

Brian is a Bettendorf native and a graduate of Iowa State University.

“I always knew I wanted to do something with art. My high school art teacher here in Bettendorf was a huge factor in my career path. He was an awesome teacher and taught us at a college level. He showed me different career opportunities for artists and encouraged me to pursue graphic design at Iowa State.”

Art has been his passion since he was little—but not his only passion.

Buckles Shark“When I was little I went back and forth between wanting to be an artist and wanting to be a marine biologist because I love sharks. Shark week is one of my favorite times of year. I even have tapes from when I was a kid of recorded shark shows.”

In fact, he loves sharks so much that if he were a superhero, he would be Shark Man.

“I’m not sure what my powers would be. I could have a great sense of smell, because sharks have an awesome sense of smell. But my powers would probably be to save the sharks from over-fishing somehow.”

When he’s not working, Brian’s time revolves around his family.

“Family is the most important thing to me. I love spending time with my three kids, and I really enjoy playing and watching basketball, too. We don’t have Netflix or cable anymore, but when we did I used to binge watch shows like New Girl. ”

His attention to detail and creative eye makes him fantastic at his job. His favorite part about working at TAG is getting to work with people who are specialists in their respective fields.

“I try to use whatever God-given abilities I have to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Of course, designing to produce effective communication that ultimately leads to increased sales for our client’s is incredibly important, and I take great pride in helping them accomplish those goals. But that moment when they first see something we’ve created and their face just lights up; that little moment makes all of it worth it.”

How does Brian sustain the energy to produce such amazing works of art? He can’t live without coffee!

Learn more about Brian and his talents by visiting our website portfolio.

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

Branding guidelines, brand standards, style guides. Whatever you call them, they are an important piece of building your brand. Branding guidelines set a foundation for your brand by creating a framework to operate in that’s consistent no matter what medium you choose.

So what are brand guidelines? Branding guides consist of essential rules for how to craft the visual pieces of your brand including typography, imagery, photography, logo usage, image style and more depending on the size and need of your business. These guidelines should point your communication toward your target audience with a consistent look and feel.

Consistency is vital in maintaining brand integrity. A guideline helps you maintain integrity by maintaining consistency in your branding efforts. And consistency makes you more recognizable in the market, assisting in building the way your brand is perceived. A guide plays an important role in perception. Every touch point between your brand and your audience should be used to reinforce a consistent perception.

Deviating from your guidelines can be harmful to your brand. Straying from your guidelines, be it typeface, color palette or tone, makes it harder to recognize your brand in the market. Not to mention it can make your brand look unprofessional. Consistency among all of your brand’s communications should always be your goal.

It’s easy to think that you can put off creating branding guidelines until a later date, but it’s important to start building that foundation right away. By using brand guidelines, you ensure that there’s an organized, cohesive approach to the points of engagement and communication with your audience that creates consistency in your communication.

At TAG, we recommend brand guidelines to all of our clients. Does your brand need help creating a guideline? Visit our website today to see how we can help grow your brand!

What Can Marketers Learn From Political Campaigns?

What Can Marketers Learn From Political Campaigns?

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

Be human, trustworthy and transparent

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

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

Video is still effective

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

Promote your message on multiple channels

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

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

Social Media

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

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

 

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

Best Things about Spring

Best Things about Spring

So, it’s time to say goodbye to those lingering winter blues, and hello to all the beautiful things about spring! What are your favorite things about spring? Here’s what the TAG Team is most looking forward to.

  1. More Daylight: Hands down the best thing about spring is Daylight Saving Time, which means we get more time to enjoy the outdoors! There’s nothing worse than leaving the office after a long day to find out the sun has already set. Now that spring is here, you can enjoy the sunlight for a few extra hours after work—yay!
  2. Outside workouts: Put your gym membership on hold and dust off those running shoes, because the perfect outside workout weather is back! So, pull out your running shorts and queue up the perfect playlist, because you’re going for a run!
  3. Spring cleaning: Spring gives us the perfect excuse to de-clutter our homes, and reorganize our lives after a long, long winter. After all, how will you make room for all that adorable spring fashion if you don’t de-clutter what you have?
  4. Open windows: There’s nothing better than a spring time breeze flowing through your home. Now that warmer weather is here, pry open those windows, and let in some much-needed fresh air.
  5. Spring candy:  For whatever reason, spring candy seems to be the best! You have Girl Scout cookies, Easter chocolates and an endless assortment of jelly beans! Moral of the story, stock up on candy during spring to enjoy the rest of the year—you won’t be sorry.
  6. Colors: From pretty pastels to the vibrant, lush colors of blooming flowers, spring time brings a whole wheel of beautiful colors!And after winter’s monochromatic color palette, these colors are a welcomed change of pace.
  7. Smells: There’s flowers blooming, grass growing, people grilling— the smells of spring are downright addicting!
  8. Spring break: What’s better than spring break? The kids are off of school, the sun is shining, you can go on vacation, or even take a few days off of work to enjoy to beautiful weather.
  9. Spring fashion: It’s time to ditch those cozy winter layers, and stock up on some stylish spring fashion! I mean, who doesn’t need 25 pairs of flip flops or 40 spring skirts? The correct answer is no one!
  10. Outdoor parties: Spring brings the perfect excuse to gather your friends and host a BBQ or outdoor party! Crack open a cold one, swap some stories and enjoy the beautiful, warm weather—it doesn’t get any better than a day in the sun with the ones you love.

Now that winter is officially over, get out there and enjoy all the wonderful things springtime brings … you deserve it! To join the TAG Team conversation, be sure to check out our Facebook page today!

Three Key Elements Every Social Media Campaign Should Have

Three Key Elements Every Social Media Campaign Should Have

As social media continues to grow, so do the amount of clever and engaging social media campaigns. If your business wants to keep up with the ever-growing power of social media, you need to engage your audience and potential customers in a new, fun way. Social media campaigns offer your business a creative, impactful way to enter the minds of your customers.  Here’s three key elements every successful social media campaign should have!

1. Measurable goals
The first step to a successful social media campaign is creating a well thought out plan, with goals and benchmarks you can measure along the way. Now, it’s important to make sure your goals are specific enough to truly measure your campaigns success. For example, creating a goal like “get the word out about X product,” is not a specific enough goal. But on the other hand, you must make sure your goals are not too narrow that they constantly feel out of reach.

For goal setting, try setting three goals that accommodate low, medium and high levels of audience engagement. Below are examples of measurable low, medium and high goals.

Low: Increase the number of “likes” on our Facebook page by X percent by the end of the campaign

Medium: Have X number of users share/retweet campaign content

High: Have X number of users share their own story with us regarding our product or services

You can also create more general goals—like increasing brand awareness, or driving more traffic to your website—so long as you create measurable benchmarks to help define your success after the campaign has ended. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, incorporating a sharing aspect to your campaign is a must, and if you’re wanting to increase conversions to your website, consider including a form for users to fill out before being eligible to receive the value being offered.

2. Cross-channel promotion

Promoting your campaign on multiple social media channels is an excellent way to increase campaign reach and improve your possibility of audience engagement. The best social media campaigns are part of an integrated marketing campaign, where your efforts on social media are supported by a number of other channels. For users more active on social channels, your cross-promotion will help remind them of your communications, and for users not as active on social channels, it will inform them of your efforts and remind them of your value.

Cross promotion also allows you to reach users of varying demographics, as well as target users on multiple channels at different times. Just be careful with your segmentation and timing—you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with messaging or annoy them with offers and campaigns.

 3. Analysis

Was your social media campaign successful? Was it a waste of time and resources? Without thorough analysis, you’ll never know! In the analysis stage, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate your predetermined benchmarks and goals—which is why it’s so crucial to determine these before beginning your campaign. When analyzing your campaign’s success, you’ll also want to go beyond just whether or not you met your goals—you will want to evaluate other metrics that increased—or decreased—as a result of your campaign, as well. This information will help you develop a unified, strategic marketing plan moving forward.

 

Are you ready to take your social media marketing to the next level with an engaging social media campaign? A great social media campaign is about more than just reaching your audience, it’s about engaging your audience in a meaningful way that will positively impact their perception of your business, and change their buying behaviors. The social media team at TAG understands that, and is here to help elevate your business with a great social media presence. Contact us today!