Are You Still On-brand?

Branding is a vital part of developing loyalty and trust around your products and services. But straying away from your preset branding standards is also very easy to do. This is especially true if they don’t represent you or your brand in a way that interests you. 

How do you check your branding?

I suggest starting simple and looking at your visual identity and tone to see if you applied them consistently over the last six months. As a social media strategist, I will be focusing primarily on branding on social media

Does your brand have a style guide?

A style guide will make creating content faster and more consistent. The goal of producing consistent — but not dull — visual content on a platform like Instagram is having people recognize your content as yours without seeing your name or logo. 

A basic style guide should include your fonts, color scheme, and a mood board that encompasses the style you want for your brand.

Your style guide should come from competitor research and acknowledge the psychology behind the colors you choose and the styles of type to be truly effective. You feel different when you see something written with a script font as opposed to a display font, right?

Do you have a set tone?

Some brands are funny and light-hearted while others are serious. For example, Moon Pie on Twitter has a hilarious persona. It would be jarring if they suddenly started tweeting as if they were a more serious brand like Politico.

In that same sense, if you switch between wildly different tones and do not have a strong reason for doing so (i.e. commenting on something serious and values-based as a comedic account) it can disarm your audience and make them distrust your voice. 

Are you keeping your content relevant to your goals?

You may be catching a theme here which is that consistency is key for maintaining your brand. Similarly, your content needs to help promote your social media goals (and business goals) consistently. 

This means you need to talk about things that are relevant to your brand. As an example, we are a digital public relations firm that has a sister publishing company. Therefore, we talk about social media, publicity and branding tips for authors that are published by small publishers or independently publish. 

In addition to the tips, we also share content that jumps on trends that relates to books and the reading community. (Check out our blog about bookstagrammers to see how we leverage Instagram to create digital publicity for authors.)

 

 

 

3 Social Media Metrics That Do Not Matter

Often we find ourselves judging people based on the number of followers an account has or the size of their email list. However, these things don’t really matter. They are called “vanity metrics” because they do not help you make better business and marketing decisions.

What are Vanity Metrics?

Vanity metrics are metrics that look amazing on paper. They can tell a really positive story. But — and this is a big one — they don’t do anything to advance your business goals. 

#1 Followers

The number of followers you have on a given social media platform does not matter. Follower counts can be easily manipulated. Have you ever been approached by one of those Instagram accounts that offers x number of followers for a fee? 

Those followers will never engage with your page or convert to a paying customer or client. Therefore, they are useless

Instead, look at the number of people who have reached out to you because of your platforms. Or how many of your ideal clients you have managed to reach. These metrics are far more likely to give you direction with your content than solely looking at follower counts. 

#2 Likes

Likes are another vanity metric that cannot really tell you how your content is performing. Measuring likes with other forms of engagement like saves or comments may be helpful, but honestly, lots of likes just make us feel popular. They don’t do much to meet our business goals.

#3 Subscribers

Subscribers are like followers. They don’t matter unless they will convert and/or are your ideal client. Although it feels nice to have a lot of attention, it is far better to have a small number of incredibly loyal and active fans than a large number on a spreadsheet.

So what metrics should you track?

These depend on your business and social media goals. If you are trying to engage your current community, comments are awesome. If you are trying to spread awareness, retweets and shares are your best friends. 

Trying to create a one-size-fits-all plan for marketing or metrics won’t work because each company and each ideal client/customer is different.

If you are interested in developing your brand and social media strategy, send us an email at cmprteam@clairemckinneypr.com.

For more social media tips, check out these articles: 

Skyrocket Your Organic Reach on Instagram with Video

3 Quick Tips for Using Instagram for your Personal Brand

A Roadmap to Using Bookstagram for Online Book Publicity

Expanding Your Organic Reach on Instagram: Video Content

Instagram, like all other social media platforms, changes constantly. However, it has never been easier to build an audience organically on Instagram because of short form video content

Using Short Form Video Content: Reels

Yes, I am talking about reels. If you aren’t using reels, and you are missing an enormous opportunity for growth. For example, when we had less than 90 followers, we created a reel that got over 3,000 views! Personally, I have an account that had around 1,100 followers and created a reel that has 1.3 million views – and is still growing. Needless to say, no other type of content would have received that sort of attention. Not every reel will go viral — most won’t — but in my experience they consistently have a larger organic reach than any other type of content.

Why is Video so Important for Increasing your Organic Reach?

People like video because it is perceived as authentic. Video allows you to connect with your audience in a way that is just not possible through still images. This is largely why Instagram has increased the ways in which you can share video content on their platform. 

Additionally, content like reels is being pushed from several different areas within the app which increases the likelihood of your content being seen then liked, shared, or commented on!

How to Share Video Content on Instagram

There are several ways to share video content on Instagram: 

  1. Stories: You can share short form video content on Instagram that will stay for 24 hours. These allow you to engage authentically with your audience and post several times a day without overwhelming your audience’s feed. 
  2. IGTV: Long form videos are great for IGTV. Generally these should share evergreen content like a podcast or educational videos. You can organize them into series based on topics. 
  3. Short video posts: You can post short videos to your feed as long as they are under a minute. These can add interest to your feed. 
  4. Highlights: Save your stories and reels shared to your stories to the top of your feed so people can rewatch them after the 24 hour period has passed. 
  5. Reels: One of the newest features on Instagram and a phenomenal way to grow organically. These can be synced with trending music, dances, or lip synced audio. But it doesn’t have to be that fancy, you can also do a simple, short talking head video where you share valuable and entertaining information. 

Pro Tips for Video Content on Instagram

  • Include closed captions
  • Look at hashtags like SEO for your videos (yes, use all 30)
  • Create branded covers for your video content that looks good in your feed as well as a standalone graphic

Don’t Post Aimlessly!

You shouldn’t post video content to Instagram just to post video content. Each piece should have a purpose and be a part of a larger strategy. If you are looking for help with developing your strategy for social media growth, we would love to hear from you.

Additional Resources: 

3 Tips for Using Instagram

3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Social Media Efforts

Tik Tok and Book Promotion

 

Getting from Goals to Tactics in Social Media Marketing

Working with a marketing group recently I realized that many people have a difficult time getting from goals to tactics in social media marketing.  The tendency we have is to set a goal and then reiterate the goal in different forms in the additional planning stages which are: Goals-Objectives-Strategy-Tactics.  I have learned that improper identification in each of these categories can:

a. have you running in circles trying to get to the goal.

b. cause tears of frustration because you spent hours with a team discussing your high arching goals and when you got back to your desk you realized that no one on the team has any idea of how you are actually going to achieve them.

c. cause you to give up on goal setting because, heck, the goal is to grow, right? Who cares how we get there?

Sound familiar?  Here is how I distinguish the categories, which makes it easier to understand the process of getting from goals to tactics in social media marketing.

What are Goals?

I’ve learned that goals are not specific.  I used to think increasing followers on a social account was a goal.  Wrong.  A goal is what you will achieve for your business/career/interest by increasing the follower count.  So the question to ask yourself is, what do you need or want to see happen in the future?  Are you looking to sell a product?  Start a workshop? Build a community around an issue to affect change?  These are your goals.

Business Objectives and Strategies

These steps are more quantifiable.  Let’s say my goal is to build revenue around a new product line for my business.  Right now I sell shoes and I want to add handbags as an additional sales stream.  The objective would be something more measurable such as selling an average of 10 handbags a week over the next eight weeks.

The strategy is about how you are going to sell those handbags.  Will it be a new promotion to current customers? An Instagram promotion with a branded hashtag?  Facebook Ads? Google Ads?  Are you selling online and in brick and mortar stores?  If so, you need to make sure your online promotion aligns with what you are offering in your stores. (It’s important that these things match so you don’t alienate any of your customer bases.)

 

Tactics are your To-Do List

The tactics are literally the things you will do on a regular basis to implement your strategy, meet your objective, and accomplish your goal.  In this case, if you want to use a strategy based on your marketing to your current customers with an exclusive sneak peek and sale, you might want to use these tactics:

  1. Send out an announcement to your current list about the new line and follow up for two weeks with teasers leading up to the “opening” to current subscribers.
  2. Start a Facebook group for Insiders or use another platform to curate your most dedicated customers and use a campaign similar to your email marketing to capture people who don’t open their emails regularly.

Each goal may have more than one objective and/or strategy that you want to use.  You need to list your tactics for each one as specifically as possible so you know how you are going to get what you are aiming for.  For an introduction to different social platforms and how to use them, download our eguide.

Back-to-School

I recently enrolled in a Master of Science program in Digital Marketing after years (ahem) of marketing and selling across all platforms (terrestrial and cyber) and multiple industries.  I have always been skeptical of what you can gain from an advanced degree when you have a lot of applied experience.  Well, for this lesson, my big educational moment is about reinforcing the process and its importance.

I lean toward the creative category of business persons.  Although I am also very good at execution and management, I have a lot of ideas.  When you are working in a marketing discipline ideas and follow-through are great.  But you need to be clear about what you are doing or you could waste time.

I have found that this style of structured and disciplined planning makes it much easier to manage and quantify progress.  I suppose in the internet age of marketing “old dogs” really can and must always learn new tricks.

 

Social Media 101: How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Audience

We’ve all heard of them. Many of us have even used them. But the real question is, how can we use hashtags to grow our audience?

First, let’s start with the basic definition.

Hashtag: a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.

But that’s not all. The implementation of hashtags is constantly evolving with social media platforms, and with technology in general. They extend themselves to a community of people who are searching for new, inspiring content on a daily basis, which is exactly why you should be utilizing them.

Like everything else, hashtags require research. But where do you begin?

Step 1: Identify your target audience. I may sound like broken record here, but audience identification and research go hand-in-hand, in more ways than one. You need to know exactly who you’re looking to attract before you can create effective content to do just that.

Step 2: Search hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. After establishing your target audience and the content they figuratively subscribe to, pinpoint the hashtags they’re using and searching for. Get in the mind of your audience. Think about what tags they might search for on Twitter or Instagram (Facebook doesn’t use hashtags as much). If you’re an author, #bookstoread and #bookstagram are popular, community-based hashtags that many bookworms use when looking for new reading material. Complete a search of your own to see which posts get the most traction.

Step 3: Analyze and implement. What hashtags seem to be working for other people in your niche? What patterns do you see? Do the tags pertain to your content? If so, adopt them!

It’s also important to incorporate as many relevant hashtags as you can find, according to Jumper Media. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, so don’t be afraid to use as many as you see fit. It will only widen your post’s reach and give you and your content more exposure.

The beauty of hashtags is the fact that they’re community-based; therefore, it’s up to you to figure out what community (or communities) you want to tap into. Although the specific tags may seem rather trite and adolescent, use them anyway. It’s simply the nature of the hashtag.

For more on content strategizing, check out our latest post.

Happy hashtagging!