By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
The Old is the New Marketing
Last year, one of the marketing trends that saw a rise in the virtual world compared to previous years was podcasting. Marketing and advertising teams were spending more money on podcast advertisements which led to the trend being classified as “the old is the new marketing.” Podcasting, in essence, is the same thing as radio. So, now marketers are spending money on getting featured in podcasts which are the new spin to a traditional media outlet.
A few years ago, the trend was influencer marketing where companies were spending millions in collaborations and partnerships with influencers from social media and YouTube. Now, people are also spending more time on more traditional media outlets that have been modernized for a virtual world. Like we discussed previously, radio has been adapted to the virtual world through podcasting while TV has evolved into streaming services. Advertisers and marketing teams spend a lot of time in buying advertising spots on radio, podcasting, TV, and streaming services. So, the new is not necessarily completely different from the old.
The traditional media outlets have evolved to fit into the new norm of society. Everything is virtual. We can conduct interviews from anywhere in the world, as long as there is an internet connection, and promote products all over the world by having access to various communication platforms. The one media outlet that was never traditional, and continues to see a rise in user growth and engagement is social media.
Social Media for Branding and Marketing
While social media is considered to be a part of the new style of marketing and has its own set of programs to learn compared to traditional marketing, it is still marketing. At the core, marketing is about promoting and selling. On social media, brands can promote their products to a larger audience with a lower budget. This is particularly beneficial for smaller businesses while larger businesses with bigger budgets tend to make the most of social media marketing. These businesses tend to employ a mix of social media and influencer marketing to get their products out to millions of people.
Marketing is not only about promoting and selling, it does not always lead to the outcomes you expect. Before you begin marketing, you need to do your research and you need to build a strong reputation. Strong brands do not come about in days or weeks, it can take years if not decades to develop a strong and strategic brand that lasts. This is why branding is so important with social media. In this almost fully virtual or remote world, your social media presence is just as important as your presence in person. And, this does not only apply to people, it applies to businesses and brands.
To ensure that you develop a strategic brand online, it is important for you to distinguish yourself from the competition. You must research your competition to really figure out what makes you different and what will be that final factor that will convert potential customers into paying customers.
The New Face of Strategic Marketing and Branding
The new face of strategic marketing and branding is not really new, but rather evolved. Strategic marketing and branding are still about the same thing that they used to be decades ago, but have now evolved to more avenues and outlets. Things now change in a matter of seconds, so it is important for brands to be flexible and adaptable to changing times. But this is why it is also important for businesses to develop a strong and strategic brand that withstands the test of time. They must focus on building a trusting, honest, and relatable brand online with their target audiences.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Integrated marketing communication can be defined as the approach of creating a unified marketing experience for consumers in an effort to have them interact with the brand in various ways. This approach focuses on integrating various aspects of marketing communication including advertising, sales, public relations, social media, and digital marketing. As a small business, you can also work on an integrated marketing communication strategy by understanding the various channels of communication in which your target audience interacts with your brand/business. If you need more help in creating your own integrated marketing communication plan, take a look at my blog post for a quick guide or fill out my contact form on my services page for 1-on-1 help. In this post, we will discuss the difference between organic reach and paid ads on social media, and why you should consider integrating them for a better marketing strategy.
Let's begin by discussing organic reach and why it is important for your small business or brand growth on social media. Organic growth refers to the engagement, followers, and reach that your social media posts gain organically or without paid ads or boosting posts. You can earn a lot of organic engagement and reach a lot of people in your audience by implementing a few simple tactics. For example, you can do some hashtag research to see what the most popular and top hashtags are for a specific product or your industry in general. Use a couple of these for a boost in reach. Remember to use proper social media hashtag etiquette and capitalize the first letter of every word in the hashtag.
You can also take advantage of algorithm changes. For example, right now on Instagram, Reels are getting pushed over other content. Reels are automatically pushed on the Explore page as they are favored on the platform. Their reach is also exponential because their lifespan is about 3 weeks compared to the lifespan of regular posts which is about a day or two (if not, only a few hours). The lifespan of regular posts depends on the type of post, but in general, due to algorithm changes, reels are it right now for organic reach and engagement. Finally, a third simple tactic that you can easily implement is posting more often. Try to post at least one regular post, one story, and one reel per day if you are short on time. You can do this by scheduling regular posts ahead of time for Instagram so that you only have to focus on posting stories and reels daily. A good tip here is to plan and record your reels ahead of time so that you have your content ready to post rather than having to create something on the spot. For on-the-spot content, use stories because they are easier and faster to make without planning ahead.
Moving on to paid ads, these are the posts that you pay to boost to reach a larger audience or planned ads that you pay for and schedule to run for a certain period of time. These can be helpful if you want to raise brand awareness, retarget audiences that have engaged with your posts or website previously, and guide your customers down your Marketing Funnel. Although they are paid, you should keep in mind that you do not need an overly large budget for these ads. For brand awareness, you can spend $20 over one month and reach over 10,000 people. That's 10,000 more people that are now aware of your business or brand.
Integrated Paid & Organic
Integrating your paid ads strategy and organic posting strategy can be beneficial for your small business or brand. First, you will continue to increase your organic reach as more people in your target audience become aware of your brand through consistent posts that are optimized for the platform in which you post them. Second, a paid strategy can always be a great help when you are trying to get your brand in front of more people. Some of the most popular platforms that you can use to integrate these two strategies into a moreintegrated marketing communication plan are Facebook and Instagram.
Paid ads on Facebook and Instagram are a great resource for increasing brand awareness, getting leads, and guiding more people to your website. There are a few different reasons why you should focus certain things on Facebook and certain other things on Instagram. For example, when generating more leads for your business through a paid strategy, you should focus on using Facebook ads that will be seen throughout the various Facebook platforms. For brand awareness ads, you can add in sponsored Stories or just boost posts that are getting good organic engagement on Instagram.
A tip here is to manually select the placements when you are editing/creating your campaigns and ad sets. Make sure that your ad creative matches the dimensions of your selected ad placements. An example here is ensuring that when you want your ad placed specifically on stories, you manually de-select other placements because the dimensions will not work out. Same goes when your ad creative is focused on regular post dimensions, make sure to de-select the stories placement. By manually selecting placements you have more control of where your ads are seen. You don't want your creative to turn potential audience members off because they are the wrong dimension for the platform in which they were placed.
As always, thank you for reading my post. If you need more help, make sure to follow the links to previous blog posts that explain certain topics more in-depth. And, if you need social media marketing or public relations help with your small business or brand, make sure to reach out by email or fill out the form on our services page.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Social Media Trends are continuously changing with new algorithms, new social platforms, new features on existing platforms, and new audience psychographics. I've discussed previously the demographics and psychographics of audiences in my post on creating your own Social Media Marketing Plan. In this post, we will touch upon some psychographics that will be causing social media trends to change in 2021. These changes have already been seen with various audiences throughout this year with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Throughout this post, we will discuss various social media trends that small business owners should be aware of for 2021.
Social Media Trends
A COVID Content Focus
We just discussed 5 of the social media trends that you will be seeing in 2021. Now, let's take a moment to discuss something new. If you take a look at some of the social trends for next year on Google, you will come across articles from Social Media Today and Talkwalker that discuss COVID content as a trend. They discuss the 4 C's of COVID content which focus on communication, contactless, cleanliness, and compassion. This is becoming a big topic in marketing because according to Talkwalker, 78% of consumers want brands to help them in their daily lives. What does this mean for small business? Well, this means that consumers are looking for brands, big and small, that can provide a way to help in relation to one of the 4 C's. For example, some businesses offer contactless shopping and deliveries, and others openly communicate about their policies and what they are doing to help. This open communication and the efforts businesses are taking to keep everyone safe through contactless shopping and cleanliness demonstrate the compassion that they have towards their consumers and employees. Additionally, this is very important to keep in mind considering that more members of a business's ideal customers are more socially aware than before.
These are all trends that you need to keep in mind for your small business, brand, and content. It will be beneficial to keep them in mind when working on your marketing strategy for 2021. And, if you need any help, visit my services page and fill out the contact form to reach out to me.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
A Content Marketing Strategy is one of the best ways to get some traffic to your website and guide your leads down the Content Marketing Funnel to your call-to-action. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two huge spending holidays that businesses and consumers wait for all year long. It's the time of year where people spend money on Holiday Gifts and splurge on items like TVs and laptops. During this time, businesses join the madness by offering great discounts, free shipping all month, and great bundle packages. So, let us discuss some marketing tips that you can easily implement to increase your engagement rates and potential sales.
Analyze Your Marketing Efforts
First thing is to analyze your previous marketing efforts. You should already know what who your target audience is, where they spend most of their time online, their purchasing habits, etc. We went over how to create your own Social Media Marketing Plan for the Holidays in the last post; so, for this post, we will skip over those initial steps and start from the bottom of your marketing plan, which should be to evaluate your campaign. At this time, you should be looking at what you have done in the past in terms of marketing for the Holidays. Did it work? Were you successful? Did you increase your leads and sales? These are questions you should be asking in order to move forward with a better idea of what strategies you will use again and which ones you will change. After you analyze your marketing efforts, you should have a better idea of what to do next. For example, will you be spending some money from your budget on social media ads or on influencer marketing? Tip: Micro-influencers might do a better job at getting you engagement, leads and sales depending on your industry or niche. Then, think about what it is that you want to accomplish this year. If this is a last minute plan that you want to create and implement for the Holidays, then it's time to get working!
Read the Room
This year has been very hard on families and businesses. Economically, we are not at the place we would have been last year because of the global pandemic which has altered our way of living and caused widespread job-loss. Some of us have lost loved ones, some of us have survived the virus, and others have tried to be careful, wear masks and practice social distancing. I'm going over this because it's important that you read the room for any marketing plan. There have been many examples in the past of organizations/businesses that did not read the room before launching a campaign. Remember H&M's "coolest monkey in the jungle" hoodie scandal? And, most recently, Kim Kardashian-West's tone-deaf private island birthday party posts. You might think, what do Kim Kardashian and H&M have to do with reading the room? Well, H&M decided to move forward with a racist ad campaign that alienated customers and used an African American child to model a racist hoodie. And, as a businesswoman and business owner, Kim Kardashian decided to post her privileged and ultra-rich lifestyle posts during a global pandemic when people are struggling to put food on the table while others are dying from the virus. The point I'm trying to make is that it is very important to be aware of socio-economic trends and events occurring before launching any campaign. You need to make sure that you are not bringing negative attention to your business from your campaign. Yes, I know that not everything is going to make everyone happy all the time, but it is important that you do your research and read the room to minimize backlash and negative feedback.
Planning & Affiliate Marketing
It's not too late to start planning your Holiday campaign. Yes, November is next week, but that doesn't mean you can't launch a successful campaign. Yes, you procrastinated and that's why you are reading this post, but you can still plan great content, create a great strategy and get your sales. After researching, knowing your target audience, reading the room, evaluating past campaigns, and setting your goals, it's time to plan. Here, you are deciding what content to post, what ads to run, where to advertise, etc. If you are a business that sells physical products, then you need to make sure your website is up-do-date and that there are no dead links. Your plan will involve promoting your products through your social media pages, having sales and discounts, offering free shipping and getting micro-influencers to promote your products. You can always reach out to micro-influencers via their emails, websites and social media accounts. Offer them an affiliate link and settle on a percentage of sales that they will get for promoting your products. Affiliate marketing is the way to go here because you aren't spending any of your own money from the budget, instead you are paying them a percentage of the product price after the customer purchases it. For more information on Affiliate Marketing for Small Business, visit my post explaining everything.
Social Media Ads Strategy
My last tip is to use social media ads. Utilizing ads is a great way to reach your target audience, get more views and engagement, and guide more people to your website. The great thing about social media is that you don't need a multi-million dollar budget to get to your target audience. It is very effective even with a very low budget. My best tips are to create engaging graphics to promote through social media ad campaigns or through boosting posts. I always suggest boosting posts that are performing well organically because they will continue to perform well after being promoted. When creating an ad campaign through social media, keep in mind that you need to know and understand your target audience. You can select geo-targeting which will allow you to target people within a certain area. This is good to do for businesses with physical locations. For online-based businesses, it is better to focus on expanding reach and guiding leads to your website rather than on geo-targeting. Another tip is to spend your ad money on the platforms that matter for your business specifically. This means that you do not have to spend all your money on every single platform. For example, some businesses might find that they receive more engagement on Pinterest than on Twitter. So, for this business it's better to focus on advertising on Pinterest. Same goes for other social media platforms. If your engagement and leads are acquired through 1 or 2 platforms compared to all 4 or 5 that you may use, then focus on spending your ad money on those specific platforms.
I hope that these 4 quick tips help you create a great plan for your marketing campaigns this Holiday Season! Black Friday and Cyber Monday are one of the hardest days to get through for sales and businesses. Remember to take everything one step at a time and if you need help, reach out to me by email or DM me on Twitter!
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
The Holidays are one of the busiest seasons of the year! A lot of people spend a lot of money on big and small businesses. And, I'm sure that this year you want to be ahead of the season with the current Pandemic affecting a lot of our typical holiday shopping traditions. So, in this post, let us go over how to create your social media marketing plan for your small business or brand. We will also go over blogging tips to get you ready for blogmas and for sharing your holiday posts.
Social Media Marketing Plan for Small Business
As a small business owner, you might not know where to begin your social media marketing plan. If you have the budget, I suggest hiring a social media manager to take care of your plan, content and posting. If you would rather do-it-yourself, then keep reading. It is one thing to know how to use social media to promote your products and connect to your target audience, but it is another thing to understand how to properly utilize it for an effective and strategic social media marketing plan that will help you in boosting traffic to your website and/or to your brick-and-mortar location.
So, what is social media marketing? Well, social media marketing (SMM) is the process of utilizing social media platforms and websites to promote products, content and services. But, isn't it just about posting a lot of pictures and getting followers? Well, that's a part of it but it is not as easy as it sounds. It is not easy to get followers and it is even harder to get good engagement on your posts. Think about it, how long have you been on social media, how often do you post, how many followers do you have, and how much engagement do you get per post? If you don't know the answers to these questions, then you are not going to be able to create a strategic and effective plan for your business.
The first thing you should know is that your profiles need to be optimized for the platform that you are using. You should also know that you do not have to be on every single platform. It is best to select the platforms where your target audience spends most of their time which can be two to three. If you focus on a few, you will be able to spend more time and be more consistent than trying to keep up with half a dozen platforms. For more on selecting the right platform for your business or industry, take a look at our post on the Best Social Media Platforms for your Business. Now that you have selected the platforms, let us move on with creating your plan.
Target Audience & Social Media Audit
After you have done a little research and know which platforms you will focus on, you need to do some research on your target audience. Think about who you are trying to target. Is your business targeting middle age adults, teens, senior citizens, women, men, children, etc? These are your demographics. A good strategy to use besides just thinking about who you want to target, is taking a look at who your competitors target. Your competitors should be those in your community (physical and/or virtual) that target the same group with the same products and services. You should also research the industry in general to find out some demographics. For example, you might be an online clothing brand that targets women. Depending on what you sell, you might be targeting females ages 15-40 that want trendy fast-fashion at affordable prices. You will need to research their income to understand how much they might be willing to spend. Another thing you need to look at is psychographics. So, what is the difference between demographics and psychographic? Well, demographics focuses on statistical data on a population including age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, etc. Psychographics focus on the classification of individuals in a population according to their attitudes, aspirations, behaviors, and other psychological factors. You can use all of this data to divide your target audience into your primary, secondary and tertiary audience. For example, your primary audience can be kids and teens who do not typically purchase their own things. So, your secondary audience is parents and your tertiary might be uncles, aunts and grandparents.
Understanding your target audience might take some time and research. But, after you have identified your ideal target audience you can move on to your social media audit. The audit will consist of analyzing your own social media pages. You will look at your followers, content, engagement, and analytics. If you do not have social media accounts yet, then you should take a look at the social media accounts of your competitors. You will not have access to their analytics, but you can determine their followers, engagement rates and you can look at what content they share. This can also help you decide the type of content that you will share on your own pages. If you already have social media accounts and you are conducting an audit, you should take a look at what type of content performs best. Take a look at your engagement rate, your followers' demographics, the times that they are active on social media and so on. This can help you determine the best posting and content strategy moving forward. For more help with analytics, visit our posts onunderstanding social media analytics for small business.
Social Media Marketing Plan
To create your own strategic and effective plan, you need to first decide your SMART Goals and Objectives. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. For example, to gain 300 new Twitter followers by December. An objective is what you aim to achieve. Your goals can be overall business goals whereas your objectives can be specific to the campaign. Goals are the outcomes you intend to achieve whereas objectives are the actions that will help you achieve your goals. After deciding your goals and objectives, you can move on to your tactics and strategies. This is set of words which people typically confuse. Tactics are the steps/actions you will take to achieve your strategy. For more information on tactics and strategies, you can take a look at our Beginners Guide to a PR Plan.
One of your strategies when creating a social media plan will be to use social media platforms to share information or content about your business, brand and products. One of your tactics will be creating a content calendar. The content calendar will help you plan out when you will be posting what and on which platforms. This will also help you determine when you will be creating new content and when you will be curating content or sharing older content. This is particularly helpful for blogs and online based businesses. You can use a content calendar to plan when you will be promoting what products and services ahead of the Holiday season. A content calendar will also help you in creating your overall Holiday campaign.
Let's do a quick review before moving on to blogging tips. First, research your market and competitors. Second, research your target audience. Third, conduct a social media audit. Fourth, set your SMART goals. Fifth, set your objectives. Sixth, set your strategies and tactics. Seventh, create the materials for your tactics. And, if you are not a small business owner, you can always share these tips and support your favorite small businesses in so many ways. Read this post from Rach Talks Business for some great ways you can support your favorite small businesses!
Holiday Blogging Tips
Blogging during the Holidays is different because you will be busy. It is the time of year where you can make the most money from affiliate marketing sales, sponsorships and other monetization tactics. There are a lot of bloggers that offer great tips and even sell their guides to affiliate marketing for beginners. Some have a list of blogging resources that are perfect for beginners like this post from Rach Talks Business on the Best Blogging Resources to Transform your Blog. For this post, we will go over some of the tips I think will help you the most during the Holidays:
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