Shawn Nesaw

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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

Shawn Nesaw

 

If you haven’t already noticed, live streaming video is becoming a popular feature throughout most social media platforms. If you watch carefully on Facebook, Twitter, or even TV, you’ll see evidence that live streaming is THE way brands are reaching millennials and is an increasingly common way for people to share important life events with their family and friends.

This blog is the first of a three part series focused on live streaming video, specifically Periscope. We’ll discuss the rise of live streaming on social media, how to use live streaming video apps most effectively for personal and business use and take a look at how live streaming is used in crisis communication efforts.

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON

Periscope pioneered the idea of sharing in-the-moment video through a social platform. It was then acquired by Twitter and launched in March 2015. Two months later, Meerkat, a live streaming competitor, released its live streaming app and for the next year, the two led the social sphere in providing live streaming capabilities online. Less than one year later, Facebook launched its Facebook Live feature and continues to see success in the market by providing a live streaming feature in its own way. To recap, in just over one year, live streaming video became the “next big thing” and since then, everyone is trying to catch up and figure out how to utilize the newest, driving force in social media marketing.

 

Meerkat, Periscope, Facebook

 

These three live streaming video platforms, Meerkat, Periscope and Facebook, all take advantage of one thing most of us carry with us every day, mobile devices. People keep their phones or tablets with them all the time, which allows anyone to broadcast anything, anytime, from anywhere. While there’s certainly still a place for edited, quality video; unedited, raw video is becoming more popular by the day – not only for the individual user but for brands as well.

If you’re not on the bandwagon yet, no worries – live streaming video is still catching on. For the majority of people, Facebook remains the go-to for social media. Sharing on Facebook is a pretty normal part of life these days. Live video on the other hand is something completely different. Questions we often hear regarding Periscope or Facebook Live video usually sound something like: “Why share?” “How do you decide what to share?” or simply, “How did you do that?” As communicators, we’re always looking to utilize the newest and most progressive technology to share our message and we know live video can be simple, fun and effective.

Recently, A. Bright Idea started using Periscope to engage our audience as well as our own team, allowing everyone to experience our culture, whether it’s a creative brainstorm or an after work event. What we’ve noticed is this: there are a lot of untapped audiences out there who might not understand what live video is or how it can be helpful. We plan to shed some light on that and more in this series. Next up in this blog series, we’ll share what we’ve learned from using Periscope and some tips for using a live streaming platform effectively to benefit communication efforts to further engage an audience.

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

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.

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

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.

When Pinterest first hit the social media scene the A. Bright Idea team learned about what it means for businesses and how it can be used from a strategic standpoint to further market the business, products or services on a new social media platform. At that point, much of Pinterest’s data was based off of projections and other social media case studies.

Now, with a few years in the social media mix – and making real headway for that matter – Pinterest has transformed as a tried and true social media platform serving as a strong marketing tool and connection to target audiences.

During a recent Vocus webinar related to utilizing Pinterest for marketing purposes, the host shared a few successful business case studies – companies who have used and continue to utilize Pinterest – Chobani, Today Show, Martha Stewart, just to name a few.

The Chobani study exemplified how the company uses the social media platform as another form of marketing in this highly competitive industry. Chobani focused efforts on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/chobani/), generating 26 Pinterest boards and nearly 60,000 followers, making it the leader in Pinterest presence against competitors, Dannon and Yoplait.

Most of the businesses using Pinterest offer services and/or products focused on:

  • Recipes (restaurants)
  • Hair and make up (salon and spa)
  • Fitness (gym or personal trainer)
  • Clothing (boutique or even department store)
  • Tourism (Chamber of Commerce offices, hotels, tourism websites)
  • Home improvement (tips and tricks for painting, hanging, repairs, etc.)
  • Furniture and interior design (sample room layouts and color palettes)
  • Weddings (bridal boutiques, venues, caterers, etc.)
  • Babies (clothes, toys, resources, food, etc.)

So what makes these companies a success story for Pinterest? Well, there are a few significant things to consider for determining if Pinterest marketing makes sense for your business.

  • Is your product/service visual?
  • Do you have a website to lead viewers back to the source for more information or to purchase?
  • Do you have the proper analytics set up to track your Pinterest efforts?
  • Will your pins be brand supportive?
  • Will your pins be informative? (Will they encourage others to re-pin?)
  • Are your pins thought provoking?
  • Do your pins provide inspiration?

In addition to these questions, you also need to consider your goals for marketing your products or services and if/how Pinterest can be part of your overall plan. Pinterest offers another medium with the purpose of the following:

  • Driving web traffic
  • Generating brand loyalty
  • Serving as a resource for product/service demonstrations
  • Establishing brand personality
  • Growing e-commerce

Although there are a lot of options with Pinterest, be sure to be strategic about your goal setting and consider objectives that are reasonable and measurable. Also consider how you can tie Pinterest to your overall social media strategy, for example, using Facebook and Twitter to leverage your Pinterest boards and draw attention to new pins and boards.

One helpful tip to consider when posting to Pinterest for your brand – make your pins the standard width (192 pixels) but longer than normal (up to 800 pixels high), because it will allow the pin to span more of the users page, keeping their attention longer.

As you consider your social media strategy, take a moment to catch up on the latest Pinterest statistics. You might be surprised by what you see!

  • 3rd most prominent social media network in the U.S.
  • Fastest growing social media site ever
  • One of the top 50 sites worldwide
  • 10-20% growth per month
  • Revenue per pin is up 50% in the past four months
  • $180 is the average online order that originated from a pin (higher than Facebook and Twitter)
  • Fastest social media for concept digestion by the target audience because of its high visual orientation
  • Low barrier to entry (easy to sign up and set up)
  • Average time on site per month = 90 minutes

Want more? Review the complete Chobani case study and overall social media strategy in the recent article from Fast Company where Emily Schildt, Chobani’s digital communications manager, shares insight on the company’s strategy and success. http://www.fastcompany.com/1808071/chobani-yogurt-tickles-tastes-pinterest-addicts-and-so-can-your-brand