What Is User-Generated Content and How To Use It For Your Business

Mobile phone with Instagram app displayed.When it comes to your social media content strategy, you have a limited number of options that make sense for your business. Creating your own assets, like hiring out graphic design, photography, and videography, can get expensive. You can only write so many blog posts or go live so many times.

But what if you could get your audience to help with your social media content strategy? This tactic is called user-generated content (UGC) and can be a tremendous asset to your content creation. After all, who doesn’t love it when their job is basically done for them?

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is content that your customers have shared of your products or at your place of business that you then share on your own social media channels, of course crediting them for the use of their image. It’s a great way to increase the assets that your company has to share on social media without increasing your budget for creating them.

Essentially, it’s your customers promoting your business instead of you. They’re pretty much doing all the hard work for you, making it easy for you to reshare their content, proving to your audience that people use and love your product/service.

Why should you include user-generated content in your social media strategy?

There are a few different reasons that user-generated content is so powerful. First of all, it’s excellent social proof. There’s nothing more telling for a potential customer than a happy current customer, so sharing photos of people using your product, attending your events, shopping in your store, or eating at your restaurant is a great way to prove to your audience that your customers love your business.

It puts your customers front and center. Instead of just passing by the post and thanking a customer for sharing it, you’re placing it on your company’s own social media page, highlighting and publicly acknowledging that customer and their experience. People love having genuine connections with brands online, and it forges a positive and loyal relationship in the future.

It also instills more trust in your brand. People are more likely to trust a peer’s opinion on social media than a marketer’s. User-generated content is also incredibly authentic. It’s different from influencer marketing because your business isn’t paying these people to post about your company online. They’re doing it simply because they love your product/service. And you really can’t get any better marketing content than that.

Instagram app opened on a mobile phone.How can you incorporate user-generated content into your social media strategy?

Now that we’ve covered the what and why of UGC, let’s talk a little bit about the how. There are many ways to encourage your audience to share and incorporate their content into your marketing strategy.

1. Create a branded hashtag.

One great way to encourage your audience to share photos and other content featuring your product/service is to create and share a branded hashtag. Showcase the hashtag on your website and in your social media bios with a quick line like “Use #brandedhashtag for a chance to be featured!” Consider including a slideshow of photos with that hashtag on a social media page on your website as well.

This lets people know that your social media profiles tend to share content created by your audience, and increases the likelihood that someone will include that hashtag with their post. It also helps you to keep most of your UGC in one easily accessible and organized place — ideally, a simple search for a hashtag will yield an abundance of great content. Don’t forget to continue monitoring your brand mentions online because not everyone will include the hashtag.

2. Hold a contest.

Hold a giveaway or contest and use user-generated content as the entry. Ask your audience to share photos on Twitter and/or Instagram to enter your contest/giveaway. This way you have an entire arsenal of UGC to add into your content strategy. You can hold contests like these often to continuously replenish your content so you’ll never run out of engaging things to share with your audience.

3. Share customer photos on Instagram.

Since Instagram is a powerful visual platform, it’s one of the best places to share your customer’s photos. Depending on the quality of the photo from your customer and the theme of your Instagram feed, you can choose to re-share it directly in your feed or share it on your Instagram Story.

To share a photo directly in your feed, take a screenshot of the original post. There are some apps you can use, but many require a watermark. Using one of these apps is the easiest way to repost content. You can reshare the original caption or create your own to accompany the photo. Be sure to thank, or at least properly credit, the photographer (the account it was shared on) by tagging them in the caption and/or the photo.

To share a photo to your Instagram Story, you can click on the paper airplane icon beneath a photo, then choose “Add post to your story.” This will automatically create a link to the user who originally shared the photo’s Instagram account, and you can add your own text, stickers, and more.

4. Retweet posts about your brand on Twitter.

Pay attention to any mentions of your business on Twitter. Not everyone who talks about your business will tag you, so it’s a good idea to invest in a quality social listening/monitoring tool as well. This will help you stay on top of any tweet, social media post, or article talking about your business.

Anytime someone mentions your brand on Twitter, you want to respond to that mention. But if someone is simply talking about your business in a positive manner, it’s a great idea to retweet it so that your other followers can see. If you have a response, you can either reply or “quote tweet” the post. Quote tweeting is essentially retweeting while adding a comment alongside the original post. The platform will show your words directly above the post you’re retweeting.

It’s time to get started implementing your own user-generated content strategy using these tips. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help make this strategy work for your business, contact us today!

 

How to Build a Content Calendar to Implement Your Social Media Strategy

Tablet with calendar displayed.If you want to have a successful social media strategy for your business, there’s one thing you just have to do. That’s to plan ahead. This is why it’s so important to create and maintain a content calendar for your business’s social media platforms.

Trying to manage your social media without building a content calendar and planning your content out ahead of time fails to incorporate any kind of strategy. It’s essential to be strategic about your content types and what you’re sharing, and the best way to do that is by building a content calendar.

Let’s go over the steps you need to take to get started creating your own social media content calendar.

1. Define your timeline.

How far in advance do you want to plan and schedule content? If you’re in an industry that doesn’t change quickly or have breaking news often, you have the advantage of being able to plan for a longer period of time. Industries that are constantly changing and evolving (like ours in the digital marketing world) have to create content more often to keep on the cutting edge of things.

Although fast-paced industries may need to plan a week at a time, some industries can plan a month or two of content all at once. Sit down with your marketing team or agency to determine the best timeline for your business.

Once you’ve defined your timeline and you know how often you’ll need to sit back down and create new content, set aside time to get started on your social media content calendar.

Remember that this is for your everyday content. Any large events or webinars that your business is hosting, taking part in, or planning can be added into the content rotation as soon as you have dates. Since it’s unlikely that the information surrounding your event will be changing, you can go ahead and create/schedule content up to the event or webinar, even if it’s six months out.

2. Gather your assets.

What types of content are you going to be sharing? From where will you be sharing content? Gathering your assets and having a basic idea of the content you’re going to create is step number two.

A few places from which you might share content include:

  • Your blog
  • Your website
  • Your landing pages
  • Your podcast
  • Your webinars
  • Your case studies

Gather up the rest of your assets as well. This includes:

  • Graphics
  • Photography
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Any other resource you may want to share

You can also gather curated content, including user-generated content (photos that your customers have posted using your product/service, links to articles from other industry experts, and more).

Pooling together all of your content sources is a great way to make it easy when you start to actually create your content.

Calendar book.3. Create patterns.

When creating social media content, it’s a great idea to create patterns or themes within your content. Not only does it make content creation easier for you, but it also gives your followers a sense of consistency, in that they know what to expect. In fact, it can even create an episodic reaction, where people are looking forward to seeing what your next post is.

This can be something like #TipTuesday, where you share a new useful industry tip each week, or #FridayFun where you share a funny meme that’s relevant to your business/industry.

You can also create patterns within your content, like sharing a link, a photo, then a graphic, and repeating it over and over again or sharing your new blog posts every Monday and Friday.

Creating some type of pattern helps you to easily create content. You know what kind of content you need and when you need it. If there are multiple people involved in content creation, it can also help give everyone peace of mind because they know what needs to come next.

4. Create your content.

There are a few different ways to utilize a content calendar. You can print one out and write out your content ideas/patterns before creating and scheduling your content online. You can utilize Google Docs or Dropbox Paper to create a content calendar as you go, writing out dates, creating your captions, and pasting photos and/or links directly underneath.

This digital route is a favorite of ours because it allows you to store old content to utilize easily and makes for a much quicker scheduling process.

Once you’ve settled on a type of content calendar, it’s time to get down to business.

First, take a look at any holidays, events, or fun social holidays (i.e., National Coffee Day) that are important or relevant to your business and create content for those. Then focus on your content pattern or themed days to fill in the rest of your content, sharing blog posts, industry news, photos, graphics, and more.

Create engaging content that interests your audience and makes them want to interact with your business online.

5. Schedule your content.

For the final step, schedule your content. Facebook gives business pages the ability to schedule directly in the platform, but you’ll have to use a third-party scheduling app for the other platforms. Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social are a few of the most popular scheduling apps from which to choose.

Scheduling your content allows you to create it ahead of time and not have to worry about posting every single day. That way you can focus on other important things, like running your business and doing the tasks that are actually generating revenue.

If you are in need of great social media content, you have another, easier option. You can simply hand off social media content creation duties to a digital marketing agency like Connection Model. To get more information about how we can help your business, request an assessment.

 

How to Market to Generation Z

Group of young adults standing against a wall using their cell phones.As new generations start to pop into the market, it’s always a challenge to learn how to reach them. Especially with the rate that technology continues to grow and new tech consistently appearing, every generation becomes receptive to new products, services, and businesses in different ways. While Baby Boomers and Gen X may have been receptive to television commercials and billboards for local businesses, Gen Y and Gen Z have grown up seeing those and subsequently become numb to them.

What is one thing that nearly all Gen Y and Gen Z have in common?

They pretty much always have their phones in their hands. Marketing to their mobile device is the main way you’re going to get their attention.

It’s all about getting creative and thinking about how Gen Y and Gen Z are consuming content, where they’re viewing media, and what makes them want to buy a product or service.

We’re talking more specifically about Generation Z (also affectionately called iGen) right now, the generation growing up right after Millennials. Although sources vary on what years make up Generation Z, the general consensus is around the mid-1990s through the 2000s. For purposes of this article, we’ll say 1995-2010. That makes Generation Zers about 8-23 years old.

Obviously 8-year-olds are not making their own purchases, but it’s still important to know how to market to this generation as a whole, both to pique the interest of the younger ones and get them to ask their parents to buy them your product/service, and to market to the older ones who are starting to earn their own money and make their own purchasing decisions.

Here are a few ways your business can work on successfully marketing to Generation Z.

1. Understand their values.

Understanding Gen Z’s values, and what they care about is essential to be able to successfully market and sell to them. This can help you construct entire campaigns and advertisements surrounding what you know will matter to them.

Gen Z is different from past generations in how they make purchasing decisions. They want to make a difference in the world, they’re incredibly plugged in to what brands are doing, and they know they have options when it comes to where they spend their money. So a business’s values are important to them.

This generation’s values tend to center around human equality, individuality, authenticity, humor, and personal success.

2. Work with influencers.

One way to grab the attention of Gen Z is by working with a variety of influencers who essentially promote and sell your product/service for you. Influencer marketing has been around for years, and it is a great way to introduce your business to new audiences.

Essentially, you work with a blogger or social media influencer with a large audience. You can provide them with free products/services or pay them a marketing fee in exchange for a certain number of posts about your business. Gen Z loves to find out about new products and services from people they follow on social media, so this can be a great way to get your brand in front of them.

People sitting down using their cell phones.3. Be where they are.

Gen Z is not enticed by traditional marketing strategies anymore. TV commercials, magazine ads, billboards, and the like aren’t as successful with this generation. Instead, they consume most of their media online, on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. They love digital publications, so having a presence online, using social media advertising, and investing in display advertising are all great ways to have a presence where Gen Z is spending their time.

4. Be transparent.

Gen Z doesn’t care as much about the things that other generations have cared about, like cost or convenience. Instead, they care about businesses who are transparent and authentic with their business decisions. Being transparent with your customers is a great way to earn their trust, and that’s important to Gen Z.

5. Cater to their high expectations.

Generation Z has high expectations when it comes to speed. Having grown up in a world with high-speed internet, smartphones, and near-instant gratification, they expect things to happen quickly. They’re accustomed to brands being available online and on social media to assist with issues, and they expect to hear back from your business quickly should they reach out.

Make sure you cater to this generation’s high expectations if you want to earn and keep their business. 

6. Work for a cause.

Gen Z loves businesses who stand for something. For example, TOMS is an incredibly popular brand with them because for each pair of TOMS shoes bought, the company donates a pair to a child in need. Ugmonk has partnered with Rice Bowls to provide a meal for a child in need each time a product is purchased.

This is something that Generation Z believes in, and figuring out a way for your business to work for a cause is a great way to stand out to this audience.

7. Optimize for mobile.

Last, but not least, focus on mobile. Generation Z uses mobile more than any other device to access social media and the internet, so it’s essential to optimize your website, content, and campaigns for mobile use. Make sure your website design is mobile responsive, create native ad experiences that users can interact with through their mobile devices, and focus on vertical photo and video content.

Marketing to Generation Z doesn’t have to be an entirely new playing field. You may be employing some of these strategies already. Learn more about your target audiences and how to market to them by contacting us today.

 

How to Create Instagram Stories Ads That Convert

Instagram app open on a mobile phone.Digital marketing is always changing and evolving, and one of the most recent strategies is using ads within Instagram Stories. Instagram launched its own version of Stories, or disappearing photos/videos, in 2016 after Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) was unsuccessful in acquiring the original stories app Snapchat. They’ve grown in popularity to double Snapchat’s daily active users, and there’s no end in sight.

After watching Stories grow, Facebook and Instagram made the smart decision to add placement options for ads within Stories. Instagram users will be shown these ads in between different user Stories or at the end of a user’s Story.

This is a game changer in digital marketing because it’s an incredibly unique ad format. Whereas most ads in digital marketing are both content and visual heavy, Stories ads are completely visual. These can be either photo or video, so it’s almost like creating a vertical video commercial or vertical photo or graphic advertisement.

To learn more about how to create Instagram Stories ads that convert viewers into leads and customers, take a look at a few best practices.

1. Create native Stories ads.

When you begin to create an ad for Instagram Stories, you do everything inside of Facebook ads manager. Facebook and Instagram both offer a number of different placement areas, including the news feed (both Facebook and Instagram), Facebook sidebar, display ads within articles, and more.

Each one of these ad types requires its own creative to be as successful as possible. However, Facebook does allow you to choose multiple ad placements for the same ad. This means you could create a basic Facebook ad that’s meant to be seen within the news feed, but also choose to have the ad shown within a Story.

The result is an awkwardly formatted and visually unappealing Instagram Stories ad that likely won’t generate much buzz for your business.

Instead, you want to create native Stories ads or photos/videos that are the correct dimensions and type of ad for an Instagram Story. These ad types will look like they belong within a Story, they will be engaging, and they will see a greater success and conversion rate than the former.

2. Use the correct ad specs.

Each Facebook and Instagram ad type has its own optimal sizing and specs for success, and it’s important to pay attention to these to get the best results for your ads. Because Instagram Stories ads are so unique, their ad specs are vastly different from all other ad types.

Instagram Stories ad specs are as follows as dictated by Facebook Business:

Image

  • Aspect ratios: 9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1
  • Recommended resolution: 1,080 x 1,920 pixels
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 1067 pixels
  • Maximum duration: 5 secs
  • Maximum file size: 30 MB
  • Supported image types: .jpg, .png

Video

  • Aspect ratios: 9:16 and 4:5 to 1.91:1
  • Recommended resolution: 1,080 x 1,920 pixels
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 1067 pixels
  • Maximum duration: 15 secs
  • Maximum file size: 4 GB
  • Minimum video width: 500px
  • Supported video types: .mp4, .mov
  • Video quality: H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Audio quality: Stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+
  • Sound: Optional
  • Captions: Not available; subtitles or captions must be part of video file

You also want to be sure you keep in mind any areas that will be covered. The top of your ad will have your business name and the bottom will include a Swipe Up link, so you want to be sure that you don’t hide any pertinent information behind those areas. Keeping all of the main information in the center of your ad is ideal.

Instagram app open in a mobile phone.3. Keep it short and to the point.

As denoted in the specs, images only last up to five seconds and videos can last up to 15 seconds. That’s not a long time to capture someone’s attention enough to evoke action. There’s no time for buildup. You need to immediately cut to the chase and let viewers know why they want to buy from your business.

Choose a background graphic, photo, or color to fill up the screen and use minimal copy. These guidelines will help you to create a winning Stories ad every time.

4. Stay true to your branding.

Be sure to continue using your brand colors and fonts to strengthen your brand and help with brand awareness and recognition. You also want to stick to a similar theme as you have in your Instagram feed. Whether it’s a color scheme, a filter, etc., you want to make sure that your Stories ads have a similar look and feel as the rest of your Instagram. 

That way, if a user taps to your profile from your Stories ad, they’re going to have a cohesive experience with your brand, rather than see a feed that is completely different from the ad they were just shown.

5. Use a strong call to action.

Because you don’t have a lot of time to convince someone to take action on your Stories ad, you need to come up with a strong call to action that will immediately entice someone to swipe up on your ad or tap to your profile. Words like “limited deal” or “exclusive offer” can be great calls to action for your Stories ads as they create a sense of urgency for the viewer.

Think of other ways you can quickly generate interest and get your Stories ad viewers to follow along with your business and make a purchase or service inquiry. A strong call to action is a must when it comes to this ad type.

Are you ready to get started promoting your business with Instagram Stories ads? To learn more about how we can help with your ad creation and implementation, contact us today!

How to Get Started With Influencer Marketing

Influencer taking a selfie.Open up your Instagram app and tap the magnifying glass to look through popular posts. Chances are, you’re going to find a few sponsored posts from influencers. This means that these Instagram users have partnered with companies to promote their product or service, either for a fee or in exchange for free products or services.

These companies are smart to do this because many Gen Y and Gen Zers resonate more with products and services that they see their peers using. This is called influencer marketing, and it can be a great strategy to use for your business.

Here’s how to get started with influencer marketing in your business.

1. Define your digital marketing goals.

In order to determine if your company will be successful with influencer marketing, you need to take a look at your overall digital marketing goals and budget. If you don’t have enough budget to pay out your influencers, putting any effort in influencer marketing is a waste of time. 

However, if you’re trying to reach a younger audience, build a larger audience on Instagram, and have more user-generated content to incorporate into your strategy, influencer marketing might be a great idea.

2. Create a target influencer profile.

You don’t want to reach out to a dozen influencers to create partnerships if their followers aren’t actually going to be the least bit interested in your product or service. Instead, you need to sit down with your marketing team or agency to build an influencer profile based on the interests of your target audience.

What do you need to look for in an influencer?

  • They’re active on social media.
  • They have a large audience.
  • They have an engaged audience (i.e., a good percentage of their followers actually comment and like their photos).
  • They’re authentic.
  • Their content resonates with your brand.

Your target influencers should look a lot like your target audience because it’s likely people are following bloggers and influencers to whom they relate. If you’re reaching out to influencers who don’t look anything like the type of people who would buy your product or service, you’re not going to have any success.

3. Find your influencers.

This is the tricky part: actually finding the perfect influencers to work with your brand. Where do you even start looking, and how do you reach out to them?

First, take a look around social media. This makes it easier to take a look at their current content and followers to see if they fit well within your brand. Search for hashtags relevant to your audience and be sure to follow several so that you can keep up with them for a while before deciding whether you should reach out or not.

Here are a few other ways to find your influencers:

Do a Google search. Look for bloggers and experts within your industry that have a voice within your demographic. Read blog posts, conduct searches for influencers in your niche, and do plenty of research before deciding on your influencers.

Use an influencer marketplace. Sites like TapInfluence were created for this exact purpose in mind: connecting businesses with influencers who can help promote their products or services. Look for a couple of good influencer marketplaces to check out and see if you can find any experts in your industry.

Set up social media monitoring. We already covered using social media to search for your influencers. For long-term influencer research, set up social media monitoring tools to keep an eye out for certain keywords that influencers in your industry likely use. Search for conversations surrounding your business and your industry to find people who are already talking about your product or service and see if you can get them talking about your specific company.

social-media3-14. “Stalk” potential influencers.

We mean social media stalking, not stalking in the literal sense. Check out their entire social media profile. Read their captions. Look at the comments on their posts. Look at how many likes each of their posts gets. Click all of the links in their profile to see where they lead. Check out the types of accounts they’re following. Take notes on how often they promote brands, and who those brands are.

No, it’s not creepy. You’re vetting potential faces for your brand on social media. You want to make sure they’re going to represent you well. Doing thorough research on their social media profile can help confirm whether or not they’re a good match for you. Then you can reach out.

5. Get in touch with your potential influencers.

Some influencers make it easy to reach out to them for any potential brand partnerships. Others are a little bit harder to reach. Start with the ones who lay it out plainly with something like a PR/marketing page on their blog/website with a clearly outlined media kit and contact form or email address.

Then move on to the influencers that you would love to work with but who may be a bit tougher to find.

Start by introducing yourself. Let them know who you are, what business you’re with, and why you’re contacting them. Chances are, they’ll be happy to hear from you and will have no problem getting right back in touch with you. Then you can discuss rates, product/service exchanges, and more before deciding whether or not to work together.

Influencer marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for your business, especially if you’re marketing to the younger generations. Partnering with real people on social media over celebrities helps create a peer relationship with the influencers and their followers. Their followers are seeing real, actual people using your company’s products/services, and it’s going to make them that much more likely to be interested in your business themselves.

To learn more about influencer marketing and other digital marketing strategies that could help grow your business, contact us today.

Using Twitter Threads in Your Twitter Marketing Strategy

Computer keyboard with a cell phone and ear pods.When using Twitter for marketing, commenting on and responding to tweets and Twitter threads are two of the most common things you’ll be doing for your business. This is how you increase engagement with your audience and get your business in front of new people. Other than creating and sharing content with your followers, social media engagement and interaction is the sole most important task when managing your social media marketing.

Although you may be replying to Twitter threads that other users are sharing, creating your own Twitter threads can be a great way to generate interest around your topic and get people in your community responding back to you.

What is a Twitter thread?

Essentially, it’s a long comment chain of tweets.

Because tweets can only contain up to 280 characters (double the size of tweets at its inception), many people have created an alternative method of sharing longer stories on Twitter: by stacking them into multiple tweets.

Due to their popularity, “threads” are now something that Twitter has added the capability for to its own platform, but previously, users had to manually create a Twitter thread by replying to their own tweet.

Twitter denotes a Twitter thread by adding a “Show this thread” link to the bottom of the first tweet in your feed.

Twitter screenshot.

If you click the link, it expands to reveal the full tweet thread, which could include only two tweets, or it could be 100 tweets. Since a Twitter thread essentially is a collection of replies, there’s really no limit to how many can be included. However, you don’t want to use too many tweets or your audience might not make it to the end of your story.

How do you create a Twitter thread?

There are two ways you can create a Twitter thread. First of all, you can use Twitter’s thread capability to write out all of your threaded tweets at once before sending them out. The option to create a thread looks like this:

Twitter thread screen shot.

Simply click the plus sign and a second text box will appear. Continue to click the plus sign and add as many tweets as necessary to complete your thread.

Second, you can create your thread manually. Many users still do this, especially if they’re live tweeting something. This way, users can become engaged with your thread and start interacting with you while you’re still sharing new content.

You create a Twitter thread manually by simply clicking on the comment icon and replying to one of your own tweets:

Twitter thread screen shot.

How can you use Twitter thread to increase engagement?

Within some industries, Twitter threads are an incredibly popular way to tell stories and interact with your audience. But for businesses, this is still a relatively new marketing strategy. So it’s a good idea to jump on board with a few creative ideas before everyone else joins in.

Why do you want to do this? Well, as just mentioned, not a lot of businesses are currently utilizing this strategy. That, in itself, is a great reason to test something new.

Even more than that, social media software Buffer ran an experiment with their own Twitter threads to see if it helps improve engagement, and the results showed that threads actually did perform better than solo tweets in nearly everything but link clicks. (However, you can improve that by including a link at the end of every tweet in the thread rather than only the last tweet.)

Man speaking on the phone while typing on a laptop.

Here are a few ways to test Twitter threads in your own Twitter marketing.

– Repurpose a blog post.

For digital marketing, businesses have to create a lot of content. Why not work out ways to use that content more than once? Instead of simply linking to your most recent blog post on Twitter and calling it a day, try out this new strategy.

Create a Twitter thread outlining what your blog post is about, explaining each of the subheadings briefly, and sharing the link so that users can read each item more thoroughly.

– Add your thoughts to curated content.

Do you often share links and articles from other websites and industry thought leaders? Using a Twitter thread is a great way to add in your own thoughts on an article. Use the first tweet in a thread to tag the author or publisher, share the link, and the basic summary of the article.

Then create a thread consisting of just a few tweets to share your own thoughts on the contents of the article. This is a great way to offer your own valuable input to your customers and your audience.

– Revive old content.

You could always share old content again. You can even retweet your own tweets. If you had a tweet that already had some pretty great engagement, you can even revive it just by replying to it and turning it into a thread. If you have new insight to add to an old point or a new experience to share about your topic, this can be a great way to do so.

– Tell a story.

Want to share a relevant experience with your audience? Telling a story, going behind-the-scenes, or being authentic with your audience is a great way to build trust with new and potential customers. Just be sure that everything you tweet is still relevant to your business.

However, if you do have an experience to share with your audience, doing so through a Twitter thread is an incredibly fun and creative strategy. Create a thread and piece together your story for your audience to follow along.

– Live tweet an event.

Although you could simply live tweet by posting over and over again using the event’s hashtag, creating a Twitter thread for an event is a great way to keep your tweets about the event organized and in one easy-to-find place. If you would like to share any tweets you sent about the event, you can share the link to just the first tweet in the thread, and users can easily scroll through to access the rest of your tweets about the event at the same time.

Want to learn more about smart strategies to use in your business’s digital marketing? Contact us today to begin a conversation about your digital marketing needs.

 

What to Expect From Digital Marketing in 2019

Digital marketingBecause of the fast pace of the digital marketing industry, it’s essential for marketers and business owners to always keep their finger on the pulse of what’s new and trending year after year. Although some of these trends may remain the same as last year’s, it’s likely that many of their strategies and tactics have since been updated as more and more businesses get behind them.

If you’re interested in what’s popular in digital marketing in 2019, read on to learn more about each of these trends and how they can be used for your business.

1. Video Marketing

Yes, we’ve been preaching this for the last few years, but video marketing really is incredibly important for your business. Especially with the emergence of vertical video this year (like IGTV and Stories), you need to create a video marketing strategy for your business.

This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, like hiring a full production team. You can have a team member use their smartphone to film themselves discussing industry news/updates, rent or buy a video camera to create editorial video content, and more.

Putting together a video marketing strategy that properly promotes your business and isn’t too costly for your business is essential to making video work for your business.

2. Artificial Intelligence

We’re a long way away from sci-fi versions of artificial intelligence (AI), but it is still incredibly prominent in digital marketing. We see AI in social media algorithms, audience targeting, and ad campaign optimization. And it’s only growing.

Soon we’ll be able to create even more accurate customer profiles, improve customer service, and increase revenue streams, all thanks to a little machine learning.

3. Chatbots

Also seen as a form of artificial intelligence, chatbots deserve a subheading all their own. They’ve exploded since Facebook’s announcement of allowing bots to integrate with their Facebook Messenger. Chatbots are bots that interact with humans based on the way they’re programmed. Businesses can use these in many different ways.

Chatbots can help businesses answer FAQs, sell products or services, and collect leads for your email list. There is available software to integrate with Facebook Messenger or your website to create a bot that works for your business.

Chatbots are a great way to replace live chats on your website by customer service representatives. They can automate tasks and save your business time and money.

Digital marketing4. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

An AMP is a webpage project that Google started as a way to improve load times on mobile and reduce overall bounce rates for websites. You might think, “Oh, that’s a nice thing for Google to do for business websites,” but it helps the search engine as well. After all, it looks bad on the search engine to have its users go back from every search result it generates because the website isn’t loading fast enough.

To help improve Google’s search results and the overall user experience, it’s started its AMP website initiative.

Although these have been around for a few years (the first one appeared around February 2016), they haven’t caught on as quickly as Google would like. We do anticipate seeing these continue to grow, though, as they’re a great way to reduce your own website’s load time and bounce rate.

5. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation continues to grow year after year because it replaces so many tasks that marketing teams used to have to do manually. This, in turn, makes marketing much more efficient, helping teams to bring in more revenue and focus their time on better, more effective campaigns.

There are so many marketing automation tools out there, from software to help with social media marketing, to integration tools, to email marketing automation, and more. Determine your business needs based on your digital marketing strategy and be sure to set aside enough of a budget to invest in necessary marketing automation tools and software.

6. Voice Search Engine Optimization

With the growing popularity of smart assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, people are using voice search more. This changes the way that you’re doing search engine optimization (SEO) on your website. Instead of focusing on search terms that people might type (i.e., “restaurants near me”), you’ll need to think about how people actually ask things of their voice assistants (i.e., “what restaurants are nearby”).

Some changes are subtle and some will be more obvious (i.e., “marketing automation tools” vs. “what are the top marketing automation tools on the market”). Considering how people actually ask things aloud will start to be very important when it comes to your website’s SEO.

7. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is one step behind virtual reality. It’s where virtual things are put into the real world. Think back to the game Pokémon Go that came out in July 2016, where you could follow a map of your real world and catch Pokémon in your home, around your neighborhood, and in businesses around your city.

This was one of the first instances of augmented reality becoming popular, and although that was just a game, there are still many ways this tool can be used for business.

For example, retailers can use augmented reality to display what a certain piece of clothing or accessory would look like on a photo the customer uploads or what a piece of furniture would look like in the customer’s home by overlaying it over the camera app.

There will be many more ways to integrate augmented reality into business in the coming months and years. We’re certainly excited to see where these innovations will take digital marketing.

If you’re interested in learning more about how these trends and strategies can help your business, contact us! We would love to talk to you about how digital marketing can work for your business and help increase revenue and grow your customer base.