Shawn Nesaw

Last month Instagram began offering users the option of switching to a business profile. Doing so provides profiles access to Instagram’s much-anticipated analytics features. Called Insights, these provide a slew of demographic data about followers, and the overall impressions and reach of posts. It’s a great opportunity for businesses to finally wrap their heads around how their Instagram content is performing and the ways they could potentially improve that performance.

We’ve long known that Instagram provides significantly higher engagement rates than other social media platforms. For instance, an analysis of the accounts of the top 50 global brands conducted by Forrester Research in 2015 showed that Instagram delivers over 10 times the engagement of Facebook and over 80 times that of Twitter. Up until now, however, determining who is engaging with our content, when they are most likely to engage with it and what types of content are most appealing to them was difficult. Insights can now answer all those questions for us or, at the very least, go a long way toward helping us figure out the answers ourselves.

Instagram Insights
Here’s a peek at Insights

For starters, Insights will give you graphs breaking down your followers by age, gender and location, the latter of which is a big help in figuring out what time zone you should be basing your posting schedule on. Even more helpful in this respect, however, are graphs that show when your followers are most active, broken down both by day of the week and hour of the day. Now, for instance, you can see your followers are most active on Tuesdays and Thursdays and between the hours of 1-3 p.m.

Insights also provides a selection of your top performing posts, ranked either by reach or engagement. What is particularly useful about this information is the way it’s presented, not in list form, but as a gallery. Presented in this way, it becomes much easier to tease out the common factors contributing to the high performing posts’ success. You might notice all your top posts are images of people. Or maybe you notice they all contain bright blues and greens. Now you can take action and start developing your content so your posts feature more people or specific colors or other characteristics you notice are driving reach and engagement.

Switching to a business profile is easy and can be accomplished from your phone in just a few minutes. Your posts aren’t lost in the process (you’re not starting a new account) and, in fact, you get an additional benefit beyond access to Insights – your business profile will contain a “contact” button that allows followers to easily connect with you via phone or email and even get map directions to your place of business. For brick and mortar businesses, such as restaurants or retail stores, this could certainly help drive sales.

So, while Insights does contain a few odd flaws – for instance, the reach and engagement graphs lack hard numbers, providing only relative data – the benefits are too significant to ignore. Any business wishing to truly maximize their Instagram efforts should definitely make the switch to a business profile. And if, for some reason you decide you don’t like the business profile, switching back is as easy as the initial switch.

A. Bright Idea specializes in strategic social media planning to ensure our clients brand and key messages stay top of mind for their audiences. If your business needs help transferring Insights data into meaningful, strategic next steps, A. Bright Idea is always here to help.

If you have something to add to this story, share it in the comment section below!

ABI_headshot_Seth

Seth covers technology, social media, and strategic communication. Seth is a collaborative strategic communications professional with a breadth of experience in journalism, government affairs, public relations and event planning, Seth manages client communication projects for A. Bright Idea’s West Coast office

Tweet at Seth:  @SethDonlin

Katie MacNichol

Whether you are a small business, nonprofit or large entity, developing a creative campaign can be a challenge. You may be thinking: How can I stand out among the competition? How can I make sure my brand is represented well? Will the campaign effectively support my goals? How can I get my audience to respond? What do I want them to know about my business?

Let us break down the elements that go into making a strong, strategic and measurable communication campaign.

Based on the Dragonfly Model, we categorize campaign elements into four sections:

  1. Focus
  2. Grab attention
  3. Engage
  4. Take action

When you consider all four pieces (or wings) of the model, your campaign will come together to work at peak efficiency and remain rooted in meeting your end goal. Like when a dragonfly flies – it needs all four wings to work in tandem in order to get where it aims to go.

To start, we focus your campaign on a single concrete, measurable goal. This will ensure tools and tactics implemented through the campaign remain grounded and focused on one thing. So – what do you want to accomplish?

Next, we grab the attention of your audience. To do this, we make sure to incorporate a personal and visual call-to-action to engage your audience and make them focus on your brand.

Take Whirlpool for example. The brand’s most recent advertising campaign organically grabs the attention of their target audience by making a personal appeal, visually.

(PS – If you’re not on the verge of happy tears right now, you should be.)

Now, time to engage. When planning tools and tactics to most effectively engage your audience, empathy toward your audience helps to increase engagement – so long, of course, as the empathetic message doesn’t appear forced. (Faking empathy can make your audience feel betrayed, so, if you’re going to use empathy as an engagement tactic, always make sure to come by it naturally!)

And finally, it’s time to take action. One of the best tips for getting your audience to take action – less is more. Keep your messaging obvious but clever, telling your audience exactly how, when and why to take action toward what you want them to do. Make it easy for them!

When you’re ready to embark on your next creative campaign, A. Bright Idea is ready to help you fly to new heights!

Katie MacNichol

By: Katie MacNichol, Assistant Director of Advertising & PR

Considering how brands can most effectively and efficiently engage customers, the recent webinar hosted by Social Media Today – Moving from Screen to Device and Back Again: The Omni-Channel Experience – focused on an omni-channel communication campaign approach versus one with a multi-channel concentration.

First, what does omni-channel mean and how does it differ from multi-channel?

  • Omni-channel – a well executed implementation of communication that provides a continuity of experience; how does each medium build on the others to continue the customer’s seamless and optimized experience
  • Multi-channel – communicating the same message across many different mediums with no particular focus on seamlessness

Ultimately, omni-channel focuses on the continuation of experience, whereas multi-channel focuses on frequency without necessarily growing the customer experience with the brand.

Within the webinar, Social Media Today highlighted five important steps for transitioning from a multi-channel approach to an omni-channel one, including:

  • Consider the customer journey
  • Identify the contributing elements
  • Identify the friction points
  • Identify the enablers (ones that can help to remove friction points)
  • Perform and audit capabilities (then fill in the gaps of the customer journey)

As strategic professionals, we use these steps at A. Bright Idea to better build plans that break silos and avoid segmenting a customer’s journey. This focus ensures all messaging, tools and tactics focus on the brand story and build webs, not funnels.

For example, when communicating to an audience segment a campaign should build a web of options for individuals to select how they want to learn about and/or engage with the brand. This provides the audience with choices, rather than a funnel approach, which only gives one hub and limits the audience’s options for engagement.

Most importantly in addition to these considerations, as with any communication campaign, research remains an important initial step, while also always keeping in mind the end-user and segmenting audiences in order to develop strategy that focuses on unique needs. Considering segments and pulling from research adds to the idea of “social care” – connecting with each audience segment where they already are (i.e. Twitter or Facebook versus a traditional call center).

Each of these elements come together to ensure an omni-channel approach to communicating a brand message to audiences remains most effective and efficient in creating an ever-growing experience, versus one that doesn’t expand past the initial engagement or provide anything of additional value to the customer.

Staying trendy in social media

abimaster | November 12, 2014

At A. Bright Idea, social media trends, statistics, best practices and innovative ideas are part of our daily operations, and staying on top of these industry changes prove crucial for our clients’ impact across multiple social media platforms. Social media serves as a free networking and outreach tool to build awareness and rapport with an audience. Businesses can build interest in their brands by posting relevant industry articles, news, events, photos, products and more – but how do you stay relevant and compete in this growing competitive environment? Social media offers the ability for businesses to segment and specifically target audiences with offers or messaging based on user profiles. If used strategically, social media provides the opportunity to elevate awareness, generate and sustain loyalty and reach new audiences.

Here are some quick, recent facts about social media:

  • 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
  • 89% of 18-29 year olds use social media
  • On average, Americans spend 16 minutes per hour on social media
  • 71% of users access social media from a mobile device
  • One million websites are accessed using the “Login with Facebook”
  • 23% of Facebook users login at least 5 times per day
  • 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases

StayingTrendyInSM

With not only more social media platforms than ever, each social media outlet is changing every day, from the way you can advertise, to the layout of your brand’s page, to the best tips for engaging your audience. Keeping your social media active and fresh requires your due diligence, so here are some tips to engage your audience across many social platforms:

  • Photos, photos, photos.
    • Studies show posts get 85% higher engagement on Facebook and 35% more retweets.
  • Utilize Facebook advertising, but target your audience, even just a little goes a long way
  • Engage with other profiles and users, comment/reply to posts
  • Ask questions, offer facts/tips and utilize contests or giveaways
  • Repurpose content across platforms and website
  • Show a brand personality
  • Utilize your analytics data to capture audiences, posting times and more

A. Bright Idea’s expertise in social media continues to engage audiences for our clients, either through social media strategies implemented by our clients, or allowing A. Bright Idea to implement a strategy for you.
Email info@abrightideaonline.com or call 410-836-7180 | 707-935-1377 for questions.

 

Building Brand Loyalty Through Visual Media

abimaster | August 5, 2014

Marketing businesses using Facebook and Twitter has become a growing tactic in marketing plans across all industries. Social media platforms serve as an effective tool for circulating branded messaging, but Internet usage and trends continue to change every day.

In a recent article, Bulldog Reporter found that 90% of all Internet traffic and 50% of mobile traffic is now made up of photos and video. For growing visual media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, this means an opportunity for continued expansion. Instagram’s more than 200 million users make up an attractive market of young people for PR and marketers. Digital media reporting site Mashable has also found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults are now using Pinterest. These large groups of users of both platforms are at the ready to receive visual content that could ultimately lead to better connecting and capitalizing on consumer and brand relationships.

With the expanding use of visual media, it is more important than ever to control your brand’s messaging. People make decisions based on trust and brand promise. Using photos and visuals helps create another tangible connection to brands. As we can see from these recent statistics, it is becoming a greater means of communication – that old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Having a strategic presence in visual media can serve as a key tool to further brand development as part of an integrated marketing approach. Everything you do or say influences what people think about your brand, so providing them with a visual example of what your brand promises also helps demonstrate that your brand delivers on this promise.

No matter the medium, the ability to connect users with your brand is crucial to developing brand loyalty, and will ultimately lead to a better consumer experience. It’s important to assess your own brand strategy as it compares to trends, as not all trends serve brands equally. With the expanding use of visual media, now is an opportune time to analyze your own brand and consider the most strategic uses of visual media and how it can potentially become part of your integrated marketing approach.

Remember when media was as simple as TV, radio and the newspaper? Today, it’s no longer just a few platforms in competition. In fact, here are some of the top media platforms competing for audience attention:

  • Television – 85 percent of American’s watch TV
  • Laptop/computer – 68 percent of American’s use a computer
  • Radio – 65 percent of American’s listen to the radio
  • Print (papers/magazines) – 61 percent of American’s read print media
  • Mobile – 55 percent of American’s consume media on their mobile device
  • Tablet – 28 percent of American’s consume media on their tablet device

* Source: http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/personal-news-cycle/

That’s just a glimpse of what forms of media advertising are available. Now consider cable, satellite radio, Internet radio, online and website advertising, social media and more. It’s enough to make you cringe when thinking of the numerous methods available today to reach your audience. It’s also very easy for organizations to lose sight of their strategic focus when facing this increasingly fragmented advertising world. A business’ strategic approach needs to focus on their goals, their target audience and their methods of consumption, as well as a specific call-to-action that will impact that audience.

Developing an integrated and strategic communications approach, including multiple media touch points, as well as incorporating other forms of marketing and public relations allows businesses to create an impression with the audience by using fragmentation as an advantage. By focusing on the underlying goals and creating a specific and strategic approach, unique and targeted advertising opportunities exist to brand an organization and still maintain a reasonable budget.

In the instance of advertising, the point you should always consider before implementing a campaign – it’s better to buy 100 ads spread across five platforms reaching 50 percent of your audience if the total is 500,000 impressions than 100 ads on one platform reaching 75 percent of your audience if the total is 10,000 impressions. Taking into consideration consumer habits and consumption, having your campaign run in multiple forms of media may give the impression of a larger spend, hit the consumer on multiple platforms, and build the brand confidence by being included on media that the consumer already values or is loyal to.

Because of fragmentation, programmatic media buying driven by data continues to change media buying, pushes pricing and limits availability. We specifically combat this for clients by finding unique ways to break through that clutter while maximizing your budget, targeting the right audience for your goals and driving your key messages and calls-to-action for results.

If it’s time to evaluate your approach and ensure you’re using fragmentation to your advantage, call us for a marketing audit and analysis!

PersNewsCycle-Exhibit_01

http://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/personal-news-cycle/

Keeping Strategy in PR

abimaster | November 13, 2013

Nonprofit organizations provide great benefits through services and products to local communities, positively changing the lives of families and individuals – your loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues. In most cases, they’re providing support with limited funds and resources, running on the time of volunteers along, while for-profit businesses have the advantage of better resources and full-time staff to support their endeavors. Often times, these disadvantages mean nonprofit organizations are put on the back burner with the media because their stories may not have the “flash” and grander available to the media from for-profits.

Focusing on nonprofit organizations, it’s especially crucial to keep a strong strategy behind PR efforts in order to effectively garner the attention of the media even with limited resources and time. Public relations require careful strategy to demonstrate information relevant to the audience. Implementing this strategy in a tactful and meaningful manor comes in the form of the newest PR buzzword – PESO – paid, earned, shared and owned media.

  • Owned – content generated by the organization and thus messages controlled completely through their content
  • Paid – paid advertising or sponsorships via media partnerships or other events
  • Earned – information presented to the public via the media where the organization is a resource; or PSA/donated media via advertising
  • Shared – social media mentions and virtual/social media conversations (“buzz”) surrounding the organization that builds through a word-of-mouth, viral network

These four avenues implemented strategically by any organization can garner attention related to its cause. Below are examples for paid, earned, shared and owned media and how to execute tools and tactics related to each. It’s important to consider added value with each, including compelling content the media can incorporate with mentions, such as images/video, trends, expert references, social media polls/campaigns, pop culture references, etc. Including these types of compelling content provide relevance for the media’s audience making the story more important.

Paid

  • Media exposure and mentions via media sponsors/partnerships, including print, radio, television, digital outdoor, and online impressions
  • Public exposure and mentions via partnerships, including other business’/organizations websites, press releases, broadcast media mentions, on-site/stadium events/exposure

Earned (Media pitches)

  • How businesses are affected by the organization’s fundraising, including statistics and what that means for those employed by or benefiting from the products and services of those businesses; Relate it back to the end user
  • Research and technology advances in the local area that support the organization, including scientific sources and news articles
  • Profiles on each volunteers/donors and their connection to the organization and the community, including video interviews and photos so viewers can identify
  • Benchmarks and milestones in industry advancements related to the organization and how they can be applied by families and individuals locally, including expert tips and trends for easy application

Shared

  • Charts/graphics/statistics locally and what difference funds raised for the organization could mean to the community
  • Map of communities within the area served most effected by the problems the organization serves to help
  • Facebook poll quizzing social media users on statistics and facts
  • Links to research directly impacted by the organization
  • Hashtags to use on FourSquare and Facebook when you check in at locations related to the organization and its cause

Owned

  • Create a PSA to distribute to local media outlets and ask them to share the video in order to help your specific cause. The PSA will serve as a vehicle to control the message and can be repurposed for earned media.
  • Provide the media with statistics specific to the local community and how money raised by the organization can help to improve those statistics
  • Create information graphics to visually represent statistics, event information and key messages that can be provided to the media for easy inclusion in their stories/mentions
  • Video clips from organization events and locally-based families and individuals who have benefited from the organization

With all public relations efforts, it’s important to make the pitch newsworthy with an angle that allows the media and the media’s audience to relate without much thought. For example, correspondence and information provided to the media should be brief, in layperson terms, eliminating hype and sticking to fact and direct to what it means to the audience.

A breakdown of Twitter’s analytics feature

abimaster | September 25, 2013

Twitter analytics are here! Learn your followers’ interests, understand your demographics and see which tweets work and don’t work with just the click of a button. Following in the footsteps of their social media competitor Facebook, Twitter is starting to give users access to profile analytics. Still in the rollout phase, businesses can use these tools to understand and reach their target market and send meaningful and efficient tweets. Soon, all businesses will be able to utilize these helpful tools.

Next time you log into Twitter, select the “Twitter Ads” option from your settings bar and follow the directions as given. Once you have logged in again, you will be able to choose from “timeline activity” or “followers,” these options will teach you all kinds of things about your online marketing efforts. Play around with Twitter’s new tools and learn how social media is working for you!

Timeline Activity Option Features

  • Mentions, follows and unfollows in any given day (over last 30 days)
  • Number of favorites and retweets for each individual tweet
  • Categorized list of tweets that performed “best”
  • Categorized list of “good” tweets
  • Number of clicks on a link in a tweet
  • Description of how tweets performed in comparison to normal reach (ex: 3x normal reach, 15x normal reach)

If you notice a large amount of unfollows for one particular day, it could be because the conversation topic did not resonate well with your audience or there were too many tweets sent that day. By using the graph, you can find the specific date and go back to your previous tweets to see what you were talking about. This tool allows you to see what tweets aren’t working and what topics your followers don’t want to hear about. Gather similar information from your mentions and follows on specific days.

The number of clicks per link gives you the ability to see how many people are visiting your site and what topics stand out to your followers. The “best” and “good” lists, along with the descriptions of how tweets perform in comparison to normal reach help show twitter profiles what types of posts they should repeat and how many people they are reaching.

All of the features offered under the “Timeline Activity” option allow businesses to gather demographic information about their followers, their interests, what people enjoy reading and talking about and the number of people they are reaching. After learning this information, businesses can determine what type of tweets to send and not send in order to reach their target audience in the best possible manner.

Followers Option Features

  • Top interests among followers
  • Unique interests among followers
  • Top cities among followers
  • Who your followers follow
  • Gender
  • Number of followers over a given time period

Learning the top cities among your followers is a great way to perform location-based marketing and promote events or news in specific areas. Having access to the gender of your followers allows you to understand your demographic and create tweets based upon interests of specific genders.

The list about who “your followers also follow” is a unique tool with many benefits. You can utilize this tool to find who else your audience is interested in and new industry profiles worth following. Checking out this groups’ tweets can give you new ideas for social media campaigns and what tweets might be working for them, and utilized in strategic partnerships in social media campaigns.

Having access to a list of your followers’ interests is also a great list of possible hashtags your followers would enjoy. These interests also provide options for topics to tweet about. By tweeting things based on your follower’s interest, you are bound to gain more followers, produce tweets with higher performance and increase interaction with your followers.

These added analytics allow businesses to enhance their social media in proficient and effective ways. Businesses can learn how their current Twitter efforts are working and use those results to make meaningful changes in order to position messaging around their target audience. The list of features teaches users many things and is something businesses should utilize as soon as available for their account.

For more information on the newest social media trend and how to integrate it into your marketing strategy, send us an email to our Multimedia Manager, David Wells, at david@abrightideaonline.com.

Sample Twitter Analytics Page
Sample Twitter Analytics Page

Media Training – the Do’s and Don’ts

abimaster | February 26, 2013

Many organizations welcome the opportunity to be highlighted with positive media attention, broadcasting their brand message among the target audiences. Conversely, there are also instances where organizations must face negative media attention, defend their brand, actions or operations tactfully in front of the court of public opinion. In both instances, when faced with media attention, its important for your organization’s leadership or spokesperson to be well versed and trained in media interviews.

At a recent event hosted by the Public Relations Society of America, Maryland Chapter (@PRSA_MD), our strategists exercised their media training skills, keeping abreast of the latest trends. We’ve shared a few of the basic points to keep in mind when preparing for media encounters. A good rule of thumb – consult your agency to develop a thorough media strategy, preparing you for positive or negative questions and appropriate responses.

Five steps to preparing for a media interview:

  1. Research the reporter/outlet prior to the interview
  2. Develop your core messages
  3. Prepare specifically for difficult questions
  4. Have your last question response ready – “I’d like to add…”
  5. Offer to provide additional information and have it on hand or readily available

The art of a good sound bite:

  • Make it locally relevant
  • Stay specific to your target audience
  • Offer something different – breaking news
  • Set up a visual
  • Provide an anecdote, analogy or third party endorsement

Do’s during an interview:

  • Be friendly
  • Translate technical terms
  • Build the relationship
  • Ask questions back
  • Provide follow up

Don’ts during an interview (and a few examples of an effective response):

  • Never say “no comment” (“I’m sorry I can’t respond to that question, but I can address..”)
  • Don’t go beyond your expertise (“I can’t speak to that but I can tell you…”)
  • Don’t speculate (“Here are the facts as I understand them…”)
  • Don’t bash the competition or complain (“Our company values dictate…”)
  • Avoid using or repeating negatives
  • Never go “off the record”
  • Avoid taking the bait (“Actually, contrary to that thought…”)
  • Don’t answer hypotheticals

If there is a media interview in your future or you’re looking to garner media attention, be sure your brand and your spokesperson are properly prepared. Need a little more training? Call one of our media experts for an in-depth media training session.

Get inspired by 2013

abimaster | January 21, 2013

I recently saw a video entitled, “What if money was no object,” narrated by Alan Watts. The imagery was compelling, and coupled with the catchy accent of the narrator, helped resonate it’s important key message and takeaway – life is too short to spend it doing something you don’t enjoy.

It’s the start of a new year. With 2012 our past, and 2013 our future, it’s the perfect moment to take advantage and get inspired to think about change. Some people are change-averse, while others welcome it with open arms. As we begin this new year, it’s a great time to reflect on the past year or two (or ten) and analyze if you are heading in the direction you had hoped – whether it pertains to yourself, your business, your brand, and/or how you want to be perceived.

Could this be the year that you push the envelope and modernize? Maybe tackle a new market or expand your service or product offerings? Refresh or update the brand you’ve kept since your company’s inception? As time, trends and your customers change, your business strategy needs to account for these changes.

Refining your business strategy, key messages or brand does not have to mean a complete overhaul of everything you’ve established. Rather, it can be more of a refinement of how you identify and present your business to your target audience, and among the competition. What makes you unique, different, a benefit? Why are you trusted, savvy or the expert in your field? In order to stay in competition you have to be the competition. Keeping your business strategy on target and staying tapped in to your position in the market is essential in understanding your marketing and branding strategy, and analyzing your success in accomplishing the goals of your business.

Below are items to consider as you evaluate your branding position and business strategy, as well as your plans on what you intend to accomplish in 2013 and beyond.

Relevancy – Consider the relevancy of your brand or business – externally and internally. Does your brand encompass the business strategy now and how you intend to be perceived now and in the future?

Growth – Does your business have multiple entities or pieces? Consider uniting them under a single brand mark or name. Sometimes, growth warrants change. If your business has expanded over the years, it may be time to refine a stronger brand representing your success. Key messaging may need tweaking with your growth.

Audience – Consider the audience of your business. Does your company want to tap into a new market? Is the current brand suitable for that audience? Changing the business location or new product offerings or services warrants a look into your overall business strategy and goals.

Handling your business goals and branding strategically is a necessity. Making a change can be difficult, but if made with trust and a thorough plan can mean a world of difference.

Take a moment and enjoy the video. Catch a little inspiration and consider what change could mean to you. It might be time for a refinement of your strategy – look back at your one year, five year or ten year plan. Where are you in your plan and how have you performed? Maybe it’s time to breathe some new life into your business or brand. Get inspired by 2013 and make an impact for the years to come!