Shawn Nesaw

mediabanner

A few years ago, including compelling photos with your social media posts to increase impressions was the top trend. Today, video is the best way to engage an audience. In fact, about one third of all online activity is spent watching video, according to Hubspot.   

In part two of this series covering live streaming video, we will dive deeper into advice on how to use Periscope to grow a stronger following on social media. These tips can be applied to the live streaming service of your choice.

  1. Let your audience be your guide. Knowing which social platform to use for your live streaming content comes from understanding where your audience lives. Jumping on a trend for the sake of taking part is not always advisable. Take the message to your audience; don’t make them come to you. Introduce your business into the conversation and the audience will appreciate the effort of your engagement. Research the audience and their behaviors, engage in the platform and evaluate for effectiveness before fully committing resources to the platform.
  2. Be strategic. Have a plan of what you’re going to share and know the strategy behind your decision to share. You only get one crack at posting live content so think through the process strategically, like you would if you were producing a high-end video for network television. Our team often plans live streaming videos around our social media calendar. Once we’ve chosen the best topics for live streaming, we plan out a rough script of talking points, noting plans for setting and props. We walk through the general flow of the video, discussing main points, reviewing questions and adjusting any lighting or background noise before tapping “Go Live.”
  3. Don’t fear spontaneity. Opportunities to “Go Live,” which are not planned, do arise and you should take advantage of these moments. We’ve found these moments are usually experiences many clients, business partners and followers of A. Bright Idea don’t typically get a chance to witness. One team member broadcasts the event from their mobile device and responds to comments during the broadcast. Posting unplanned, unscripted content can be scary at first, but with a steady hand and confidence, you will allow your audiences to experience the human side of the business, giving viewers an even more intimate experience with your brand.
  4. Don’t force it. Periscope should be used when it makes sense. It shouldn’t be forced into a weekly or monthly content calendar. Our team utilizes a content calendar to ensure we’re continually providing information about our industry to all audiences on the platform in which they engage. We might pick one or two events per month for Periscope. If there’s a lot going on in a given month, we might use Periscope more than twice. Do what’s comfortable for your business.
  5. Steady as she goes. Using a tripod with a phone mounting system will help keep the image your viewers are seeing clear and steady. We like Joby’s GripTight Mount. The tripod also allows you to not be glued to your phone during a broadcast giving you the freedom to move around and show hands-on demo of products for example.  

Here are a few engaging Periscope content ideas to get you started.

  1. Q & A  – If you want your audience to get to know you better, hold a weekly or monthly Q & A session, where the audience submits questions and you answer them live.
  2. Live tour – Do you have a newly decorated office space? Periscope a live tour of the office, answering questions as you go.
  3. Sneak peak – Are you launching a new product? Give a sneak peek of production to boost interest.
  4. Business culture – Do you want to show audiences what it’s like to work on your team? Scope a meeting, in-office party (until things get wild) or any other aspect of your business culture.
  5. Community event – Allow audiences to experience what you do as a team outside of work. Whether it’s running a 5K or having a company cookout, people enjoy being part of your culture.

Entering unknown social media territory can be daunting. Our team of strategic communicators specializes in public relations, including social media strategy and implementation. If you’re looking to boost your social media outreach but have reservations or are unsure where to begin, we can help.

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

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

Maria Dontas

Business owners are increasingly looking to the Internet for spreading brand awareness, boosting sales and optimizing performance. As a business owner, you’ve likely explored many different digital marketing approaches including social media, online advertising and email newsletters.

But what about SEO?

For many businesses, and especially small businesses with limited resources, the idea of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often a completely foreign one, one requiring time that doesn’t exist. Ignoring this key component, however, could cost you a large percentage of web traffic and a lacking digital presence against competitors.

Traffic drives a website.

So, how do searches work?

Considering all the options available to us via the Internet, it’s no wonder most turn to a search engine to help find reliable information most applicable to the question at hand. And while it might seem like those instantaneous search engine results appear through some magical process, it’s really algorithms, or long mathematical formulas, that dictate what information displays. So when you press the “search” button in your search engine of choice, that engine then filters a mammoth amount of material and presents it to you based on quality and popularity of content.

SEO_BLOG_Graphic

So, how do you make your website relevant in filtered search results?

Basically – you have to make the search engines see your value and specifically what value you give to viewers. This relevancy and value depends largely on your website’s content and the effective use of keyword phrases. That means make sure your website’s functionality runs smoothly, using compelling content, and a backend with descriptive meta-tags, or content descriptors that accurately portray your products or services. And don’t forget to make sure your site considers “mobile first” – meaning, the design responds and adapts to the size of the viewers screen. Believe it or not, search engines give higher relevance to sites that integrate these elements into their site. See, it pays off!

Another tip – shared links will boost your popularity, and popularity is a key factor considered by search engines. Make sure your website has a clear message and that it’s geared towards helping visitors answer their questions. In turn, consumers will start sharing your website’s content. Establishing trust and consistency in your online business practices will lead to more shares and more website traction. As the site gains traction, it’ll begin to rank higher in a list of search results. Think of it as the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising.

Put website visitors first.

A well polished website cognizant of its purpose is sure to get on a search engine’s radar. Why? Because, when you put website visitors first, you’re proving your value and to search engines that’s bound to naturally increase your SEO. If you think about it, SEO isn’t much different from any other effort to improve user/audience experience. Keep your website up-to-date, consistent with branding, and teeming with well-written linkable material, and SEO will become an organic digital way to enhance your business.

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/

Client News – Summer 2013

abimaster | September 24, 2013
  • This fall, look for A. Bright Idea’s new creative and production for Stella Maris’ Anniversary Campaign. Highlighting the remarkable service of a leader in elder care, A. Bright Idea offers strategic marketing support in celebration of Stella Maris’ 60 years of long term care and 30 years of hospice care in Maryland. The anniversary campaign includes a custom anniversary logo, strategic marketing and communications plan, media campaign and video production, as well as marketing collateral and event support.
  • The John Carroll School launches its 50th anniversary year with a custom logo and timeline-style brochure, including vintage photos and milestone dates, designed by A. Bright Idea.
  • Grapevine Catering is moving into a new space in Santa Rosa, CA where both the catering company will operate and their Earth’s Bounty Fine Foods products will be sold. The new storefront, Earth’s Bounty Kitchen & Wine Bar will have a take away menu and artisan produced products along with a full-service café and wine bar. A. Bright Idea supports the businesses with branding, signage, marketing, website, collateral design, email marketing and more.
  • Flavor Cupcakery supports wounded veterans and boasts community spirit with “It’s a Flavorful Life” – a week of promotions and special offers from the cupcakery and fellow small businesses in Bel Air and Cockeysville, MD. A. Bright Idea provided a custom event mark, collateral and PR support for the campaign.
  • A. Bright Idea designed the collateral and promotional materials for the Sonoma Valley Teen Services annual fundraising event, Cowboy Cab. Held at Larson Family Winery, the event sold out this year with over 200 guests in attendance. Check out a photo from the event here.
  • A. Bright Idea positions Synergy Integration Advisors for growth with a brand refresh, custom information graphic and icons, capabilities statement, brochure, document templates and stationery.
  • Celebrating 40 years in business, A. Bright Idea develops the Kenwood Kitchens Dream Kitchen contest, including advertising creative, print collateral and web page design, where one lucky winner will receive a $40,000 dream kitchen! Have you entered?

instagram videoInstagram recently implemented a video feature, taking the once still image only platform to a new level. Instagram video allows users to take a 3 to 15 second clip of anything they want, stopping and starting a video recording whenever they feel; so that you do not have to record the video clip all at once. It also includes a filter feature and a video stabilization option, a feature that put Instagram on the map when it was first introduced.

What at first felt like another version of the highly similar video-only social media outlet Vine, Instagram video has erupted as a strategic marketing tool. The Vine platform limits users to 10 seconds. Many companies use their 15 seconds to capture the users’ attention and provide an interactive glimpse at what services they have to offer. Many retailers are giving behind-the-scenes glimpses of sales and new products while some producers are posting shortened movie trailers. Businesses are finding new ways of reaching consumers as Instagram video transforms marketing methods.

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.

Creative ‘cross America

abimaster | February 26, 2013

By: David Wells

A few things immediately evident as I travel across the U.S., hoping to take advantage of the best dining our country has to offer:

1. Smart phones and Google are the best invention ever
2. Not everything you read on the internet is true
3. Nothing beats the eye 

Making my way from one coast to the other in a good, old-fashioned road trip, I can’t help but notice the branding and signage along the route. Before I hit the road, I made a rule of no ‘chain’ restaurants – I wanted local, unique and creative. I’m not sure if I’ve been blessed with good luck at picking out great places to stop, or if I simply know how to use the information available to me, but every stop fulfills my need for not only good food, but a great and memorable brand experience.

Queen City CreameryThe first stop, although not too far from A. Bright Idea headquarters in Bel Air, was in Cumberland Md., at the Queen City Creamery. A simple Google search on my smart phone for “best places to eat in Cumberland” provided me with a plethora of rating websites, Yelp reviews, locations and more. After seeing the Creamery appear on several sites, I decided to check out their website. You notice a historical feel to the logo, which matches their historical building on the main street. When we pulled off the highway and onto the street, the building, signage and quaint nature of the place caught my eye, and I know it would be what I expected and wanted. The creamery is known for its homemade ice cream, but the deli sandwiches were a treat. You can tell it’s a local favorite by the number of groups of people laughing at the diner-style tables and talking with the staff like they were friends. I indulged in one of their well-known milkshakes as headed West. For me, a restaurant brand is not just about the outside looks and website, but from the moment I visited their website, I formed an expectation and the physical restaurant, atmosphere, service and fare didn’t disappoint!

Another stop along the way, thanks to another Google search and Trip Advisor recommendation landed me at Wild Eggs in Louisville, Kentucky. From the reviews, to the social media, to the website, I knew we were Wild Eggsin for something special when I decided to stop at this breakfast spot. Like some of the reviews proclaimed, we got to the restaurant and had to wait almost an hour for a table. However, from the time you walk in until the time you walk out, guests wait in the lobby and even outside in the cold to eat at this restaurant, so you know they must be doing something right. This family-owned restaurant has a great history and photographs of their delicious food on the walls, and a somewhat ‘wild’ appearance from the outside with bright colors. The Wild Eggs ‘story’ hangs on a poster in the lobby, providing something to read and learn. The Wild Eggs brand is all about tradition, history and comfort. With signature dishes and favorites, the waiter had no problem steering us in a direction he thought would please our palette. Their specialty strawberry tall stack, Eggs Bennie, grits and cinnamon roll did not disappoint, and looked just like the photographs on the website, foursquare photos and on the restaurant walls. For locals and tourists alike, the Wild Eggs brand is set for success.

For great views of downtown St. Louis, those who are 21 and over should stop here to view the city from St. Louisabove at 360 Rooftop Bar. With some of the best views of City Hall, the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium, the 360 Bar is an upscale tapas restaurant and bar with modern amenities. Cool fireplace features on the outdoor patio and outdoor TVs to watch sporting events, the 360 degree glass walls allow you to see any feature of St. Louis, even a Cardinals game from above. The 360 brand is modern and speaks to a certain crowd, and features DJs at night for this crowd. The modern website and logo pair with the created brand and atmosphere of the business. The tagline, Sip See Savor, captured my attention – I’m a sucker for three word taglines – and spoke true to the 360 mission and brand.

A final brand on the road trip thus far included Andolini’s Pizza in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Deciding where to stop and eat on the way to Oklahoma City was a challenge, but my smart phone and Google helped out yet again. Two local places sat next to each other and had favorable reviews, so we decided to check them out from the outside before making the final selection. One review for Andolini’s said, “If you’re looking for something with an ambiance, Ando’s is not your place, but if you want fresh ingredients and great food, this is your stop.” Well, as soon as we saw the place, it screamed ambiance. The outdoor fireplaces and brick walls welcome visitors. The chefs tossing pizza in the air in the windows was the final seller. The menu was designed well and included a great selection of signature pizzas, local craft beers and more. I’m not sure what the reviewer meant when he said the place had no ‘ambiance,’ but I’m glad we chose Ando’s, and the waitress even provided me with my very own Ando’s glass as a souvenir.

From experience, I know many local joints depend on their loyal customer base and word-of-mouth, but an investment in a solid brand is never wasted. For those businesses looking to grab the attention of a traveler, hope you have good reviews, have a website and be true to your brand in all aspects of your business, and you’re bound to earn a stop from this guy.

Melissa Mauldin, Sr. Marketing Specialist, A. Bright Idea

According to an AVG Digital Skills Study in 2010 presented at the ABA Marketing Conference, 30% of U.S. toddlers can operate a smartphone or tablet app. This may or may not surprise you. It does not surprise me as my daughter, by age two, knew how to “slide to unlock” on the iTouch, go to the Entertainment folder, select Peek-A-Boo Barn, play her game until she was board and then go back to the folder to select a new game. Now this doesn’t mean that I’m a bad parent (I hope) or allow technology to babysit my child, it’s just an example of how “times, they are a changing” and technology is something the next generation is born with not being able to live without.

Because we as a society demand information at our fingertips and have the expectation of immediate gratification with our smartphones, banks are readying themselves for market capture. Mobile banking isn’t something new but it is something that many of our community banks are just getting into.

Launched two years ago, mobile banking was invested primarily by the large, national banks. In one of the many sessions on mobile banking at this year’s ABA Marketing Conference, it was cited that many of the larger banks may have launched this added feature to compensate for the areas where they were lacking (i.e. customer service, personalized attention, service fees, etc.). In terms of technology in the financial industry, mobile banking was more quickly adopted than any other technology launch. ATMs and Online Banking technologies took anywhere from four to ten years or more to acquire more than 50 percent adoption per household. Since its launch, mobile banking has seen a market penetration of 10 percent within the first two years and it is expected to eclipse Online Banking (in terms of usage) by 2014.  With consumer desired features including mobile deposits (scanning an image of a check and depositing it via your smartphone app), as well as balance inquiries, transfers, etc., customers desire the accessibility to manage their funds while they’re on the go.

Additionally, with the growth of couponing companies like Groupon and Living Social, banks are also adopting personalized service features based on a customer’s spending preferences and offering discounts that relate. How would you like your bank to offer you a coupon for the GAP the next time you log in to online banking, simply because they noticed you purchased something there before? Or offer you access to determine the cheapest gas based on your location simply because they noticed you bought gas with your bank card? Approximately 76 percent of customers said they would like discounts based on spending habits, and that they would switch banks for one that offered these personalized services.

While these conveniences are steadily on the rise and becoming more and more desired, 55 percent of consumers still primarily say they select a bank based on the convenience of location more than anything. The traditional bricks and mortar bank branches will not be a thing of the past.

National banks continue to primarily be the first to test out new product and service features, but community banks will soon follow to meet the growing demand by customers. While customers may need to wait a bit longer for these benefits at their community bank, when they do come they’ll be packaged with all the benefits of local, personalized service we value from our neighborhood banks.

AutoCorrect – not always correct.

The AutoCorrect feature, originally developed by Microsoft, gained additional popularity when introduced by Apple for the iPhone in 2007. It’s designed to automatically detect and correct typos, misspelled words and incorrect capitalization. Considered a feature of smartphones now, the AutoCorrect function has been known to produce strange (and sometimes inappropriate) results leaving it to users to “correct the auto-correct” changes made.

With the intention of making our lives easier and communicating faster, faster communications are not necessarily better, especially when a machine is doing the interpreting. In an article on CNN.com, AutoCorrect was the source of panic when a retired couple decided to go on a month-long trek through Nepal, keeping their daughter and son-in-law up to date by checking in at local Internet cafés. The first message their daughter received read: “Help. Visa bad. Can you send money to water? Autopsy not working.”

Needless to say their daughter panicked and a 16-hour effort ensued to clarify the situation. What the couple meant was that they couldn’t use their VISA credit card to pay the water bill and AutoCorrect had changed the intended word “auto pay” to “autopsy.”

With more and more communications being conducted via text-based sources, technology has offered tools to make these interactions happen better, faster and more accurate – but nothing’s perfect. According to CNN, the United Nations International Telecommunication Union cited that approximately 200,000 text messages were sent every second in 2010, and more than 107 trillion emails are sent every year, which no doubt produced countless instances of miscommunication – many of which were human error, but also a good many prompted by technology.

According to a social strategist at Mashable.com, these kinds of mistakes are a natural part of learning a new communication technology. When you think about it, it’s true. We still encounter people not understanding the appropriate use of “Reply All” in email, which was highlighted in this 2011 Bridgestone Super Bowl commercial, and when Facebook first launched there were plenty of misdirected posts on users walls that were intended for a private message string. Now we are on to the horror stories of bad texts and emails due to AutoCorrect.

Reply All advertisement for Superbowl XLV

Because we reach more and more people via text-based communications and because they’re permanent (in writing) there’s more reason to ensure our language, words and phrases are accurate when communicating.

AutoCorrect has been the topic of several humor websites that allow users to upload images of funny text messages based on the inaccuracies of the spell check and AutoCorrect on the iPhone, iPod Touch, via email, Android and other smartphones. Taking a peek as some of these interactions may give you a chuckle, but it should also remind you to slow down the pace for a minute – or be ready, and hope the recipient of your message has a good sense of humor.

http://damnyouautocorrect.com/

http://www.autocorrectfail.org/

http://www.didijustsendthat.com/

Internet Domain Naming System

abimaster | July 19, 2011

With the recent historic approval of the Internet’s domain naming system by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), organizations will soon possess the opportunity to use brand names in their URL’s. Branded top level domain’s (gTLD) will begin to replace the alphabet soup we’ve been used to including .com, .info, .biz, .net and others, creating unique and immediately recognizable URLs and allow for new and increased branding opportunities. This change provides companies with an unlimited number of globally recognizable URLs tied directly to their brand, product or industry. Applications for new branded URL’s begin January 12 – April 12, 2012. Check out the video of this historic approval and article at http://www.icann.org/.