Posts in Social Media
Instagram Following in Facebook Footsteps

Instagram is moving to an algorithm based news feed. They made the announcement last week in a blog post entitled “See the Moments You Care about First,” and we quickly got wind of the change when the internet exploded with reaction. 

105.5 The Bridge listeners who caught last week’s Web Wednesday by Ashley T. Caldwell of The Modern Connection are already in the know. I encourage you to hop on over to her website to get the details if you missed her live.

Like Ashley, we can’t help but be a little disheartened about the news. Up until now, Instagram has been an un-adultered platform for promotion. Use the right hashtags, fine-tune your timing, gain followers and users will see your content. A lot of that is about to change. 

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and like Facebook it is quickly becoming a pay-to-play platform. Essentially algorithms limit your organic reach (i.e. your followers are only see a small portion of what you post). We would prefer to see Instagram stay algorithm-free, but all is not lost. Instagram will continue to be an extremely affordable advertising platform. Most Rooted ID clients that maintain a Facebook and Instagram presence run ads on both platforms in order to reach a larger audience.   

A savvy social media strategy starts with a clear understanding of your target customer(s) and what differentiates you from the competition. Need help laying a strong foundation for your branding and marketing efforts? Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule your complimentary call. 

Hashtags #UNITE a Community

Bible study resumed last night at Mother Emanuel AME. Congregation members have reclaimed a space that was so heinously violated only a week ago, and families will begin laying loved ones to rest in the coming days. The Charleston community has entered a new phase of mourning and healing… It’s a time for reflection.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the friends and family of the 9 who were taken. We admire their strength and resolve, and we are proud to be part of a community that seeks to live out their example. 

Messages of love, support and unity are the most important takeaways from this past week, but the way in which those messages were spread is also noteworthy. Charleston’s response to the June 17th shooting has gone viral on social media. The consistent and persistent use of hashtags has helped us to unite quickly and has given the outside world a real-time, inside look. 

#CharlestonStrong

The Charleston Chamber of Commerce has used #CharlestonStrong to help local business owners rally in support of the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. They created a web page with details, and participating businesses used #CharlestonStrong to join what is now a national conversation.

#ChimeWithCharleston and #CharlestonUnited

The Charleston Area CVB quickly organized and began promoting the #ChimeWithCharleston event on June 18th. Posts went out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…

Image from Instagram @explorecharleston

Image from Instagram @explorecharleston

Within a few short days, hundreds of churches received the message and were ready to chime in on the 21st. 

The CVB closed the loop with some follow-up posts encouraging churches and community members to share video footage with the world. 

Image from Instagram @explorecharleston

Image from Instagram @explorecharleston

#BridgeToPeace 

The Unity Walk, which quickly became known as the “Bridge to Peace,” was organized by Darcy Creaturo, Dorsey Fairbaim, Lauren Vicars and Gnosha Burk. These “ordinary” citizens teamed up with The Town of Mount Pleasant and The Mount Pleasant Police Department to create an official city event. The press release (available on the MMPD blog) went out on June 20th, and the following day, thanks to a Facebook event and a whole bunch of shares, more than 15k people joined hands on the Ravenel Bridge. 

Image from Facebook

Image from Facebook

Event specific hashtags, which were closely linked to other conversations (like #Charleston and #PrayForCharleston), have and will continue to reach millions. 

Hats off to the Charleston community… to the individual voices that joined to spread a singular message of support and love. #CharlestonUnited 

Hashtag Tips for Small Business Marketing

Hashtags can help your small business gain exposure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Here are a few “best practices” to get you started…

 #RESEARCH 

Before assigning “#” to every keyword and phrase, it is a good idea to do a little research. Hashtagify.me will give you an idea of how many times a hashtag is used and what topics are used in conjunction with it. Random example… I searched #makeup and saw that there was a correlation between #selfie and #makeup. My brand (let’s pretend I sell makeup), could tap into a new audience (the selfie crowd) by mentioning #selfie in some posts (like “#Makeup tips for the perfect #selfie). This isn’t a very dimensional example, but you can see where I’m going with it. 

KEEP IT #SIMPLE

Don’t go hashtag crazy. #Longhashtagscanbeveryhardtoread and #this #will #make #you #seem #crazy. Try sticking to 1-3 hashtags per post.

#IDEAS TO TRY

  • Host (or Attend) an Event – Events are wonderful hashtagging opportunities. If you are hosting an event, create a unique hashtag (ex. #711OpenHouse). Promote event details with that hashtag (ex. “Join us January 1st for a networking event. Drinks and refreshments will be served. Party starts at 6:30pm! #711OpenHouse”). Encourage event attendees to share photos and comments with the hashtag as well. When attending an event that is hosted by someone else, you can participate in event conversations the same way. 
  • Promote a Contest – If you are promoting a contest on social media, make sure to hashtag it consistently. Get participants in on the action by asking them to share/hashtag for a chance to win some sort of prize.
  • Create Something Unique – You can start a new conversation with your brand at the center by creating a new hashtag. It could be as simple as #YourCompanyName, or you may want to get a little more creative. You could use your company’s tagline or find a clever way to make your brand relevant to a timely conversation. 
  • Join a Conversation – Hashtags don’t have to be unique in order to be effective. What are your customers/clients talking about? What hashtags are they using? Join their conversation.

Want to learn even more? Visit workflowmax.com for additional hashtag tips.   

Would you rather someone else manage this stuff for you? Contact us to schedule a complimentary call. 

Super Bowl #Marketing

For most of us, the Super Bowl is already a distant memory (one that Seahawks fans everywhere are intentionally repressing)… But we’re not here to talk about game highlights.

Last week we encouraged you to keep your eyes peeled for hashtags. Hashtag use wasn’t quite as prevalent this year (down to 50% of ads from 57% last year), but more users than ever took to social media to comment on Super Bowl advertising.  

Here are just a few hashtags that got major attention last Sunday:

  • Budweiser - #bestbuds
  • Coca-Cola - #makeithappy
  • Dove - #realstrength
  • Nissan - #withdad

There has definitely been a shift in the way major brands approach Super Bowl ads. The tone is slightly more serious, with many brands advocating for social/societal change… 

BIG WINNERS: MICROSOFT AND ALWAYS

Microsoft’s #empowering ads were a big hit in my book. They may not have been the most memorable spots, but they contained positive messages in which Microsoft was positioned as a solutions provider. 

The Always #likeagirl ad was arguably one of the most memorable and touching ads of the night. I’ll have to admit that I may like the Microsoft spot more (since it links Microsoft to solutions), but #likeagirl received an overwhelmingly positive response on social media. 

THE BIG LOSER: NATIONWIDE

Social media exploded after #makesafehappen aired. I hate to jump on the critical bandwagon, but the campaign was way too dark for Super Bowl Sunday. It was also (in my mind) ineffective marketing. The melancholy nature of the ad affiliates Nationwide with a huge problem (childhood death by preventable accident)… More effective advertising affiliates the advertiser with solutions. 

I love marketing that makes an impact, but I’m not sure how I feel about ultra-serious Super Bowl advertising. I understand the shift… Personally I have become immune to advertising that is over-the-top silly, but Super Bowl Sunday has traditionally been a light-hearted event. I would love to see more brands use marketing messages that are thoughtful AND fun. Consumers are multidimensional. Brands should be too. 

STAY TUNED FOR HASHTAG HOW-TOS 

Want to harness some hashtag power for your small business? Check back in with us next week for some simple tips.

Facebook Advertising Basics

Most small business owners are eager to harness the marketing power of social media, and it’s easy to understand why. There are more than 1 billion active users for Facebook alone! Social media can help your business to (cost effectively) reach a whole new audience. It can also be a source of frustration.  

Are you getting very little return on your social media investment?

If so, some basic education may help. Take Facebook for example… Your company page is VERY different than your personal profile. I know this because I work for a marketing agency, but I’m finding more and more that small business owners aren’t as familiar with the interworkings of social media. Mostly it’s because you’re busy, but Facebook (in my humble opinion) does a very poor job of explaining the limitations of your company profile and the importance of investing in ads. They tell you how great targeted ads are and neglect to tell you why you really need them…

Let’s step way back for a moment, and think about how the “typical person” uses Facebook. We log in, and BAM! There’s the news feed. Unless we’re prompted by a notification to go elsewhere, we spend the next few moments scrolling through that feed. We click on pictures, comments and articles that are of interest, and we ignore the rest. If we share a photo or status update, we can rest assured that all our friends (per our privacy settings) will see it in their news feed very soon.   

Here’s what Facebook hasn’t told you (at least not plainly) about your company profile… Your posts don't end up in every follower's news feed. In fact, they end up in very few.

In order to preserve user experience, Facebook limits the number of promotional posts that appear in personal news feeds. They have an algorithm that takes links, language, hashtags and a whole lot more into consideration… Your posts are displayed to a select number of your followers based upon the result.

Facebook for Small Business: Regular Posts vs. Sponsored Posts

The following is a real life example that may give you a better understanding of how small changes can increase the effectiveness of your social media strategy.

Client ABC spends between $500 and $1000 per month on content creation and social media management. The business has a Facebook page with 3,500 likes. 3,500 LIKES FOR A SMALL BUSINESS IS AMAZING! The company posts at least three times per week. 

The Problem - A lot of posts were only getting seen by about 50 people.

The Solution - We’ve managed to increase exposure two ways:

  1. Engaging Content – We do our best to create content that is timely, interesting and “share-worthy.” The goal is to encourage likes, comments and shares. The more Facebook users interact with your post, the more likely the post is to be seen in a news feed. Client ABC regularly shares important information about local events… These posts (which receive a few likes, comments and the occasional share) usually reach between 150 and 250 people. 
  2. Facebook Advertising – Content that features special offers and/or events are great material for sponsored posts. A small budget ($5-10 each) can dramatically increase the exposure a post gets. Client ABC recently spent $5 on an ad that reached a targeted audience of 1,800 people. 

Facebook Advertising Tips

Set a Goal – Marketing strategies should be crafted with a measurable goal in mind. Facebook offers analytic data so that you can track the performance of your post. Evaluate post engagement (audience size, clicks, etc.) and compare that with other desired results (increased revenue, transactions, inquiries, etc.).

Experiment with Advertising Options – A lot of “social media marketers” will tell you to never boost a post. I tend to disagree… Facebook gives you two options when it comes to advertising: the easier “boost” option and the more time consuming “create ads” option. “Create ads” will give you greater control over targeting, but if you just want to make sure a post is seen by your loyal following, the “boost” option works just fine. 

Let’s Collaborate

There may be an opportunity for us to collaborate on your next social media campaign! Contact us to schedule a complimentary call.  

Leverage Social Media Connections for Your Small Business

When crafting a social media strategy for your small business, there are a lot of important things to consider:

  • Appropriate platforms
  • Profile elements like company descriptions, imagery and icons
  • Frequency of posts
  • Topics/content for posts

That last one is a doozy…  As a copywriter, I’m pretty particular when it comes to content, and it’s all too easy to spend hours upon hours nitpicking what to post and share. Good content is an extremely important part of any social media strategy, but what if I told you that there is another (often overlooked) aspect of social media marketing that’s just as crucial?

Social media is, at its core, a platform for social interaction and connection. Get the most out of your social media strategy by leveraging connections effectively.

Reach a new audience via Facebook

Facebook posts that are made from a company page are only displayed in the news feed of users who follow the page. Facebook also has an algorithm that controls what goes into news feeds… which means that every post is not seen by every follower.  The most obvious way to combat this (and reach a whole new audience) is to run an ad or sponsored post. Facebook advertising is an effective strategy for a lot of businesses (especially B2C), but there are other ways to reach a new audience. Use that like button! You probably use the “like” option on your personal profile, but you can “like” things as a company as well. Partner with other businesses and organizations, and share each others’ content. To be most effective, a like should be mutual. 

Example: I’m a local restaurant owner who hosts an annual event for a soup kitchen. I know the soup kitchen has a Facebook page. I should (from my company page) “like” the soup kitchen’s page, and request that they reciprocate the favor. I can now tag the soup kitchen in my posts. If I create an “event” on Facebook, I can encourage the soup kitchen to share it on their page (which they would happily do)… now I’m reaching a whole new audience (soup kitchen followers). 

Gain Introductions via LinkedIn

One of the greatest features LinkedIn has is “Shared Connections.” This feature allows you to look at profiles (of potential clients) and see what connections you have in common. If you have a mutual connection, you could request a virtual introduction. This is an especially useful tactic for gaining B2B leads. 

Need Help?

Need help crafting a social media strategy for your small business? Getting to know one another is a great place to start! Email Kendall@RootedID.com to schedule a complimentary call. 

"Pinning" for Business

My name is Kendall, and I am a Pinterest addict. When it comes to recipes, fashion trends, home décor and DIY projects, FORGET Google. These days, I use Pinterest as a search engine for those topics. 

As most of you already know, Pinterest is a social networking site that allows users to organize and share all the fabulous things they find on the internet. “Pinners” organize their “pins” (image links) into theme based categories which other users can peruse, “pin” and “follow.” …and if a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s no wonder why Pinterest is so popular. The “dynamic grid” layout is the envy of online community. It’s the ultimate window shopping experience… picture, after picture, after picture makes it hard to step away from the computer!

The Pinterest community is largely comprised of individuals “pinning” for personal pleasure, but business are allowed to create accounts and “pinboards” as well.  Rooted ID even has a board if you would like to follow us!

Are changes on the horizon? We have read that some may be on the way, but don’t panic just yet. These changes just may lead to some awesome opportunities for business owners and marketers like ourselves.  

Potential Structural Changes for Pinterest

  • Main navigation – The current layout has a few category options located at the top of the screen. If you’re like me, you probably have a few favorite categories that you visit religiously, and you rarely bother with the rest. The new layout will include a comprehensive navigation icon that will encourage users to explore dozens of categories.
  • Pins – The new layout will feature larger images when you click to open a pin. The current layout features a small image surrounded by white space. The new layout will utilize that space with “related pins.” These won’t just be pins from the same board either… Pinners will be able to travel about the site by clicking links, much like Amazon users shop the related products category.

What does all of this mean from a promotional standpoint?

For brands that promote themselves on Pinterest, related pins would increase the likelihood of pinners landing on their page. The addition of the more relevant “related pins” may even pave the way for sponsored pins.  A Pinterest user frequents the style category. She clicks on a few sundresses, and the related pins offer all kinds of relevant options. The user finds a favorite, follows a website link, adds to cart and BAM! …a sale is made. .. No googling or website-window-shopping required. Imagine the possibilities! 

The Dos and Don'ts of YouTube

Do you use YouTube? Of course you do! Like me, you have probably viewed hundreds of “laughing baby”, “cute kitten” and “invisible rope trick” videos... 

You say you haven’t seen the “invisible rope trick” videos? Make sure to check some of those out right after this blog post.

It may be time to consider a more productive way to utilize YouTube. Like other social media, YouTube can be a great way to promote your business. We’ve put together some DOs and DON’Ts to get you started.

DO

  • Establish yourself as an Expert – Who are you and why should the viewer stay tuned? Make sure to clearly communicate your brand and your business’s success. Customer testimonials are a powerful way to accomplish this.
  • Provide “Infotainment” – Provide the viewer with practical and valuable information. Tutorials are a great example.
  • Keep it Brief – Viewers are not likely to sit through lengthy videos. If possible, keep it under three minutes.
  • Be Persistent – The key to YouTube success is consistency. Post quality videos frequently to ensure viewers are getting the most up-to-date information possible about your business. Be persistent in the posting and promotion of your videos. Remember that the more videos you have, the more likely they are to appear in searches. Your videos will appear higher in searches the more they are viewed, and a higher search listings result in even more views. You can promote videos by embedding links in your website and sharing them via social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

DON’T

  • Don’t create videos with the sole intention of “going viral.” It rarely happens, and viral videos, while great for generating buzz, are not a long term means to promote your business.
  • Don’t post any and everything. It is important that everything associated with your business is an appropriate reflection of your brand.
  • Don’t let your social media pages lapse. Unattended social media is a poor representation of your brand.

Here at Rooted ID we are constantly researching ways in which small businesses can effectively utilize social media. We are expanding our strategic partnerships to include media services and look forward to putting YouTube to work for our clients!

Social MediaJennifer Morrow
Is Facebook Really Free?

It is so amazing how much Facebook has changed our culture.  Even though I don't often post things on my personal account, I am somewhat addicted to checking in several times a day to see what's going on in the world... or at least in the in the world of my circle of friends.

Even though there are often rumors about Facebook's plans to start charging its users, it is and most likely will remain a free service.  So, it is natural that small business owners would want to capitalize on the Facebook revolution.  And, how smart to be able to market to your customers without spending a dime, right?  Wrong!  It is absolutely false to think that Facebook is free for a small business.

Sure, you may not be paying to advertise on Facebook, but it is costing you time at the very least.  And, that is certainly worth something.  Even if you can justify spending the time to reach your followers, many small business owners will be shocked to know thatFacebook limits the number of posts users receive in their news feeds.  According to Facebook itself, the average business post reaches only 16% of its fans.  Think about that... if you have 100 fans, Facebook is on average only going to show your posts to 16 of them.  And, that doesn't even take into account if the followers who get it in their feed are even paying attention to you!  Now, think about if that is worth your time or not.

Does that mean that you should abandon Facebooking for business?  Maybe, maybe not.  Hopefully, you are doing it because it is a strategic part of an overall marketing plan.  If that is the case, it is probably time to investigate the tools that Facebook has to engage more of your followers... ads, the new Promoted Post program, etc.  No, these tools aren't free, but they aren't near as expensive as traditional advertising.  And, Facebook does a great job of providing analytics tools to track success of campaigns.

In summary, you get what you pay for... if you want to start seeing more results from your efforts on Facebook, it might be time to ante up!

Social MediaJennifer Morrow
Social Media Strategies

Small business owners frequently ask us how they should be using social media.  The fact is that there is not a cookie cutter answer to that question.  There definitely should be a strategy, but the plan will look different for every business if it is based on that company's unique brand identity as it should be.

"To have a social media strategy, you need to know what you want to achieve. Don’t start without a clear SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, time-specific) objective. " ~ Speed Summary, The New Rules of Marketing and PR(source: SocialCommerceToday.com)

According to this great summary of the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR on SocialCommerceToday.com, there are three basic social media strategies: "Entertain Me" (Stunt Strategy), "Help Me" (Thought Leadership Strategy) and "Love Me" (Fan Strategy).

The first, "Entertain Me" aims to get third-party coverage in mainstream media from a social media PR stunt.  You can use social media to establish your expertise, credibility and authority with a "Help Me" approach.  Finally, a "Love Me" strategy drives loyalty and advocacy from your customers.

As to what combination of strategies you use will depend on your specific business.  If you are like most small business owners, finding time to read books on business is difficult.  If that is the case, you can link to the book summary on SocialCommerceToday.comfor a more in-depth explanation of the social media concepts presented in the book.

If you have further questions, feel free to contact us.