2 Years in Business: Q&A With Our Founders

During our time at Arizona State University, we got used to people referring to us as a “Chandler-and-Emma” unit. We could always be found together on campus and outside of class, too. As graduation drew near and we looked towards the future, we knew that there had to be another option besides embarking into the job market separately. As we grew our skills together at the Cronkite school, we began to realize that there was no reason to go work for someone else when we were overly-qualified to work for ourselves. Two years later, we’re looking back on what inspired us, what surprised us and everything we learned along the way.

What inspired you to start Buzzly Media?

Chandler: I think both of us were motivated to create our own working environment where we could be our own bosses and build upon the skills we learned in school while shaping our own roles/jobs.

Emma: Definitely that! I also think that having internships and seeing the inner workings of marketing agencies firsthand inspired me as well. It really got me thinking–could we use our backgrounds in journalism to introduce more transparency into the marketing world?

Was it hard to start a business while you were in college?

Our Edson grant included a workspace at SkySong where we got to meet tons of other business owners and local influencers every day!

Emma: From a stress perspective? Yes. It was staying up late and constantly reshuffling our priorities. But overall, being in college while we started Buzzly was a huge advantage for us. What other environment is going to offer you an amazing support system of professors and endless resources? The Cronkite school worked with us so that we could run the business as part of our capstone project under the mentorship of Retha Hill. Retha has tons of experience in innovation and entrepreneurship and was an invaluable resource to us. She helped us get organized, do customer validation research, find our niche in the marketing world and even track down clients. We owe everything to the Cronkite school and our amazing professors who helped us along the way.

Chandler: I totally agree. We were so lucky to have a lot of resources, including incredible professors like Retha. The entrepreneurship programs at ASU, such as the Edson grant, also motivated us and helped us take Buzzly from an idea to an actual business.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Emma: This is going to sound a little trivial but I remember that one of our biggest hurdles was finding a name we liked. We really only had two requirements: It had to sound good and the .com domain name had to be available. We couldn’t incorporate without a name and went back and forth on it so much that we finally locked ourselves in a Cronkite classroom

There were many name and logo iterations before we arrived at Buzzly Media!

one night and decided we weren’t leaving until we figured it out. We wrote a million things up on the whiteboard, some helpful and some not. We fell in love with a couple of names that were already taken and about four hours later we finally arrived at Buzzly Media. We both knew instantly that it was perfect and counted ourselves very lucky that we had been able to come up with something that harkened back to our journalism roots (“the buzz”) and still made sense as the name of a marketing company.

 

Chandler: That night stands out in my mind, too. Who knew picking a name could be so hard?

What is the most rewarding thing that has happened in the history of Buzzly?

Chandler: Every time we take on a new project it’s always an exciting time for us. I really enjoy working through ideas and strategies with clients until we can come to something that makes sense and makes them happy. It’s a huge deal to us when people trust us with their brand and that alone is a great feeling.

Emma: Agreed. I also think landing our first big account was a huge moment for us. I was so (happily) surprised that anyone would make such a big investment in us. There’s no bigger motivation than someone putting their trust in you and it meant the world to both of us.  

Trust your business partner and remember to laugh 🙂

What advice would you give to somebody thinking about starting their own business straight after college?

Chandler: I would tell them to go for it! Taking risks and creating businesses is easiest when you are young and have access to your university’s network of resources and connections that can help your business take off. I would also add that drive and adaptability go a long way in overcoming the inevitable hurdles that come with starting and running a business.

Emma: Those are great points. And honestly, people are going to give you all kinds of advice if you even mention starting your own business. Learn to listen graciously but ultimately trust your own instincts. In the thick of things, you only have yourself (and in my case my partner!) to fall back on, so know who you are and know what you value and never go back on that. As for starting a business right out of college… I would have to say be prepared to be poor, be prepared to struggle and do not spend one ounce of your time thinking about a Plan B. You’ll also need to come to terms with the fact that you’ll be working a lot more than your friends with 9 to 5 jobs. As the saying goes, “Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”

What surprised you the most about running your own business?

Emma: Hm. I guess I would say that I thought since I knew how to do social media marketing that I would be able to run a social media marketing company. There are so many pieces to running your own business and when you’re an entrepreneur you just have to figure them all out as you go. Chandler and I became our own financial department, legal team, sales staff, recruiting specialists, the list goes on and on. We’ve learned so much along the way.

Chandler: We really have. I think I am the most surprised when I think about how far we’ve come and how much we’ve improved, learned and grown over the past few years. It’s been a crazy ride.

Where do you see Buzzly Media in five years?

Emma: I think I speak for both of us when I say that our main goal moving forward is expanding our client base so that we can expand our team. We ultimately want to be the go-to choice for anyone looking for high-quality marketing services from an honest team of experts.  

Chandler: She definitely speaks for both of us. I can’t wait until we have a whole team of people learning how to do things the Buzzly way!

The ultimate whiteboard of name ideas!

So there you have it. Two women and a dream and look where Buzzly is now! If you ever have questions about marketing or starting your own business (or both!) then we’re here to help. Contact us here and we’ll respond with surprising speed!

What Can Social Media Do for my B2B Company?

Leaving a comprehensive social media strategy out of your marketing efforts is a big mistake for B2B businesses. In today’s digital world, the sales process is shifting online for the majority of industries, with one study finding that “most customers are 57 percent through the buying process before the first meeting with a company representative.” The same study found also found that “61 percent of all B2B transactions now start online. And 58 percent use social media as a research channel.”

Consumers across all industries are becoming less responsive to cold-outreach and more independent in their research on companies they might do business with, and products they might purchase. Social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook, and social media service providers like Buzzly Media offer B2B companies many valuable ways to reach customers online.salesperson shaking hand

Social media virtually eliminates the learning curve and gives your customers an almost immediate idea about your brand and your brand’s values before they even make contact with a sales person. This is valuable in the sales cycle because customers who have some interest in your brand (but not enough to convert) may be searching for your company online to learn more before they commit. Social media will offer them softer, more relatable content to ease them into your company culture and let know what to expect when they do decide to reach out.

Social media is one of the best tools available to strengthen your brand’s status as a thought leader in your industry. By connecting with influencers, posting timely industry news updates and weighing in on relevant issues, your brand’s credibility will rise dramatically over time. Brand-building, however, is just one element of a social media campaign and should reflect that customers like to see educational content that is more informational than it is brand / sales-centric.This builds trust and will help them remember your company when they are ready to make a purchase.

You would also be strongly advised to consider social media marketing if you are trying to drive valuable traffic to your website and landing pages. Buzzly Media clients have had great success in generating leads through the careful development of laser-focused landing pages. It’s a great way for someone to engage with your brand without committing much time. The easier you make it for people to hop in your sales funnel, the more leads you’ll have overall.

customer doing online searchSocial media will also help your website’s ranking by increasing the number of sites linking in, otherwise known as “backlinks.” These tell search engines that your website must have valuable information on it if others are spending time putting your links in their content, and it’s great for boosting search engine optimization. Remember, “94 percent of business buyers do some form of online research” when looking over their options.

And finally, the best part of social media is that it’s social! Having digital presences for your brand and its executives will allow you to connect with valuable industry contacts and start building relationships online. We know that “more than 90 percent of decision makers never respond to cold outreach.” A great way to move right past the cold outreach part of the sales cycle is to network online and give your potential customers a face to your brand. This will make you and your company seem more familiar when the time comes to sell.

The most important thing about establishing a digital presence for your brand is having the right information available to people at the right time. You never know how or when customers are searching. If it’s on Google (which is quite likely), then you want to make sure you are ranking high for generic industry keywords and have the social media profiles to back it up. If it’s late at night (or in a different timezone) when a potential customer can’t make contact with a human salesperson, you want them to get that same personalized experience through your social media.

A comprehensive social media strategy is the way to take your B2B business to the next level in today’s digital world. When you decide it’s time for a thoughtful and effective dive into social media marketing, let the fabulous people at Buzzly Media know! We’re always ready to help and will respond to your request with surprising speed.

Already have a social media presence and want help to improve it? Sign up for a free audit with Buzzly Media on our site and our experts will deliver their recommendations. 

3 Creative Pinterest Campaigns to Replicate

Here’s an industry secret: looking at the strategies and campaigns that are working for other brands is one of the best to brainstorm what will work for yours. While Pinterest is often overlooked in social media marketing strategies, it actually has a diverse audience, can improve your site’s SEO and it drives a significant amount of ecommerce activity.

 

screenshot of pinterest analytics

Each one of your pins should included a branded hashtag and a link back to your website–that way you know that every person that sees your pin has been exposed to your brand name and has the opportunity to convert to web traffic on your site.

Pinterest boasts an impressive 150 million users, 87% of which have purchased something that they have seen on the platform. Pinterest users consist of mostly women (45% women to 17% men), but 40% of new signups are actually male.

 

Every once in awhile, we see a campaign that really takes advantage of the benefits Pinterest has to offer. Below are three campaigns that have inspired us and might do the same for you!

Campaign 1: Mastercard – #AcceptanceMatters

It all began with NYC Pride in June of 2013, when Mastercard used a sort of play on words with “acceptance.” Mastercard has been accepted everywhere for over 25 years, and they wanted to make the conversation around acceptance more dynamic by asking their customers via social media to tell them why #AcceptanceMatters.

Our idea was straightforward and organic to the platform: Develop inspirational word art that evoked the spirit of #AcceptanceMatters and partner with some of the platform’s most prolific pinners to spread the content,” wrote the marketing team behind the Pinterest campaign. Mastercard kept their content simple yet aesthetically pleasing, making sure that it resonated with the already-active Pinners.

mastercard in woman's wallterThe result was incredibly successful. They had 13,000 repins in just nine weeks, and their Pinterest board gained 171 followers. The pins continued to circulate through 24 levels of repins, and 15 influencers shared their content.  People throughout the world connected with Mastercard’s message of tolerance and acceptance. Not to mention, the pins were a perfect addition to the thousands of “inspiration” boards already out there!

Even if your brand is much smaller than Mastercard, you should still be able to identify a core value that will resonate with people. Remember, when Mastercard began their campaign on Pinterest, they had no followers. Influencers played a huge part in helping to spread their message throughout the site – your brand can find influencers, too!

 

Campaign 2: Uniqlo Hairdo

Uniqlo Hairdo Campaign exampleUniqlo is a Japanese clothing company who took to the feminine appeal of Pinterest to market their fall and winter 2014 fashion line in a unique way. DIY hairstyles have always been an incredibly popular topic throughout the Pinterest world, and were also a hit with Uniqlo’s target audience. With this in mind, they created 16 DIY hair tutorials and paired the end result with the clothing that they thought best fit the look.

The board gained nearly 15,000 followers by assimilating a trending topic into their content. Lovers of hair and fashion came together to follow and repin their Hairdo board. It became what their marketing agency called a “social style catalogue” and helped women think of “head-to-toe outfits.”

Although Uniqlo doesn’t sell hair products, they combined an aspect of Pinterest that already had high popularity with their clothing line to gain more views and repins. Staying up-to-date with Pinterest’s trending topics, from DIY ideas to Star Wars, can be incredibly helpful for your business to find new content opportunities and capitalize on relevant trends. Get creative!

 

Campaign 3: Honey Bunches of Oats, Happy Mother’s Day – The Pinterest Way!

Honey Bunches of Oats has always promoted kindness. In their Mother’s Day Pinterest campaign, they continued on that path by giving Pinterest users the option to give their moms the gift of a personalized Pinterest board.

To begin, they created boards full of fun Mother’s Day graphics, such as quotes, different ways to say Mom, designs, flowers and even a board of 250 popular names so that users could add Mom’s name to her board! Additionally, they provided a unique service: if a user didn’t see their mom’s name in the board, they could send a note or email to Honey Bunches of Oats and they would create the graphic. Once users populated their own unique Mother’s Day boards, they were encouraged to send the boards to their moms.

This brand created over 300 requested name pins and provided something of value to their followers. It was not overt advertising, but giving something in the spirit of a holiday.  If you have the resources to offer something digital and/or customized to your audience, you can give back to your followers in the same way. Bonus points if you can tie in a holiday relevant to your brand!

screenshot of top audience interests on Pinterest

Here are some of the top interests of the Pinterest audience to get you started!

 

Unique Pinterest campaigns are a great way to get organic followers for your brand. Pinterest users appreciate well thought out and visually appealing content, so if you have developed an idea that will resonate with your audience and can tie in with the current trends on Pinterest, you can create a hit!

If you get stuck, or need help coming up with a creative Pinterest strategy unique to your brand, contact us! We’re happy to help!

 

Are your Social Media Efforts Paying Off?

One of the most common questions we receive about social media marketing is, “How can I tell if it’s working?” It can be hard to measure the success of social media because it can be a challenge to track goals like brand awareness and credibility. We offer our clients complimentary analytics reports every month to show them exactly what their social media efforts are accomplishing for them and how they can quantify the return on their investment–but if you don’t have an awesome team like ours measuring your success, how can you be sure you’re doing the right thing? 

There are several things you should take into account when doing an audit of your social media marketing efforts. They will, of course, depend on your goals as a business, but there are many standards that apply across industries.

The first thing you should think about: is my audience hearing from me frequently and consistently? This is an important thing to take into consideration whether you are trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in a certain field or attract customers to your diner. If people are following you on social media it’s because they want to hear from you. Providing regular updates is a big part of keeping your following happy and informed.

The next thing to check out is your branding across platforms. We see brands having major troubles with consistent branding. If you are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, your users should be able to identify you by a username pretty close to your business name and a logo that looks the same (but hopefully cropped and resized according to different platform requirements) across all your accounts. This helps users quickly identify that they are looking at the correct person/business/organization and cannot be understated in importance.

Another aspect of social media posting that we focus on is post appearance. All social media is visually-driven and there really isn’t room for silly mistakes like bad formatting and incorrect grammar. Formatting posts across platforms is not something that comes naturally to anyone–it’s a matter of knowing the intricacies of each platform and tailoring the posts to look as visually appealing as possible. Contact us if you need formatting help, we have a beginner’s guide that will show you everything you need to know!

The last element we’ll cover in this blog is engagement. Many people think that as long as they reply to comments and messages on social media then they are doing their part in engaging with their audience. But really, engagement encompasses a lot more than that.

The power of social media is its social aspect. Just posting to your profile is usually not enough to spark high levels of interaction with your customers, and for good reason! People like profiles they follow to chime in on conversations they care about, not just promote themselves all day long. This means joining in on relevant Facebook groups, Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups, trending Instagram hashtags, etc etc. If you aren’t interacting on social media then it’s unlikely that people will be interacting with you!

Sometimes it can be hard to step back and critically evaluate what you should change about your social media marketing efforts. That’s where we come in! Sign up here for a FREE, full social media audit so that our team of professionals can give you some expert insight into what’s working and what isn’t.

Tutorial: Create a Snapchat Geofilter

You’ve probably seen Snapchat geofilters before. They are the creative frames and location-based titles that you can swipe through every time you take a picture on Snapchat. Snapchatters use them to add context and originality to the stories they post or the pictures they send. But did you know that you can actually pay (on average about $15 – $20 per day) to have your company’s own geofilter appear on people’s Snapchat pictures?example of a geofilter over a picture of latte art

Creating a geofilter for your business is easier than you might think. Although any business can create a geofilter, they are better suited to certain types of businesses. Companies that have physical locations, and target a younger, mobile audience are well served by advertising on Snapchat.

Imagine you own a local coffee shop and your baristas make beautiful latte art for patrons every morning. It’s likely that your customers are already taking pictures of your product because who can resist adorable foam creations? With a Snapchat geofilter, your customers can take pictures of your drinks on Snapchat and swipe to overlay your brand on the picture. That way, whoever they send it to will see exactly where these artistic drinks are coming from. You’re basically enabling your customers to become part of your marketing strategy!

If you think your business might be the kind that could benefit from a custom geofilter, keep reading! We’re going to break down exactly how to create one.

Step 1: Design Your Filter


To begin making your own filter, visit the Snapchat Geofilter website. Here, you can choose between a community geofilter, personal, or business. Because the Business section allows branding, that’s the one to choose.

This is where the creation process begins. Here, Snapchat has plenty of pre-made templates for your business. At the top left, you can scroll through their categories and see the templates below each. Once you choose one (we chose just text) you can edit certain elements. By double clicking on the text, a menu will pop up giving you the option to change the color or the font family, give it a glow, or delete it altogether.

You can also choose to upload your own photos to the filter, so long as they comply with Snapchat’s submission guidelines. At the top right there is an ‘Elements’ section. This would be a perfect place to upload your logo as a .png if you have one!

 

Remember that you can click and drag your text and elements around the screen template. You can also add as many as you would like and resize each to your liking.

If you’re curious as to what your geofilter looks like with an actual picture in the background, don’t worry! Snapchat covered that, too. Just click the left or right arrow next to the phone and they have an example photo. This is a much more accurate representation of your geofilter, instead of looking at it over a boring gray box.

Step 2: Schedule Your Filter

Once you’re happy with your template, you’ll move on to the next step: dates. This is where you’ll decide how long you want your geofilter to run.

Deciding how long to have your geofilter active is going to depend on what its purpose is. If you are using it for a business event, such as a fun run for charity, you may want to have an event geofilter start 30 minutes before your event and end 30 minutes afterwards. If you’re promoting something coming up, you may want to run your geofilter for a week or so before your event.

Snapchat also has an annual option that will automatically renew. The benefits of the annual geofilter (besides the discount) are the reporting and metrics. You can also change your geofilter at any time to align your branding with timely events or trending topics.

Step 3: Map Your Filter

The next step is drawing a fence around where you want your geofilter to be applied. You can enter in an address to get the map centered around the location, and then click the “Draw Fence” button at the bottom of the map. Drawing a fence isn’t as simple as clicking and dragging; it’s a matter of placing four or five dots around your area until they all connect. In this example, we’ll use Arizona State University as our location.

You’ll know that your fence is complete when the area inside of it turns green. If it’s red, this means that your fence isn’t large enough – Snapchat has a 20,000 square foot minimum for their fences. Keep in mind that the larger your surface area, the more costly the geofilter will be. You should draw your geofence a little bigger than your business, to make up for the sometimes inaccurate technology of geofencing. However, your geofence only needs to cover your specific location. The idea is that people in a targeted area will be more likely to use it because it is more relevant.

Step 4: Pay and Enjoy!

Once you’re happy with your price, selected area and times, the final step is the payment. When the payment is received, Snapchat will review your filter to make sure it is within their guidelines and within a few days, you will have your own Snapchat geofilter!

If you find yourself struggling to get your Snapchat geofilter just right, you can contact us and we will help guide you.

September 2017 Trending Social Media Holidays

If you’re not able to invest in paid social media campaigns, you may notice that getting the type of exposure and reach you want is a bit difficult. Certain social media platforms are increasingly pushing down organic content in favor of sponsored posts. One way you can capitalize on the organic reach of your posts is by leveraging content tailored to trending topics and holidays.

Now, we aren’t talking about bank holidays. In fact if you’ve paid attention to the “Trends for You” section on your Twitter feed, you may have already noticed that on most days there is at least one social media holiday trending.   Trending topics and social media holidays are a great opportunity to either leverage your existing relevant content or to create additional content with a call to action.

You may run into danger if you’re trying too hard to relate yourself to each holiday. Not every social media holiday is right for each business, but do take advantage of those opportunities that do overlap with your messaging and goals. For example, if you’re in the education market, you may want to create a creative campaign around “International Literacy Day” on September 8th. If you have an original podcast to promote, September 30th’s “Podcast Day” is a great chance to market yourself.  Keep those and the rest of these September 2017 dates in mind when putting together your content calendar this month.

We’ve also included the popularity score of a few related hashtags (courtesy of Hashtagify.me) to keep in mind when writing your posts.

September 2017 Social Media Holidays

September 3 – World Beard Day

#WorldBeardDay

Popularity score: 41.2

#BeardDay

Popularity score: 21.2

September 4 – Labor Day

#LaborDay

Popularity score: 59

#LaborDayWeekend

Popularity score: 51.5

September 5 – International Bacon Day

#BaconDay

Popularity score: 37

#InternationalBaconDay

Popularity score: 32

September 6 – National Read a Book Day

#ReadABookDay

Popularity score: 30.6

#NationalReadaBookDay

Popularity score: 28.5

September 8 – International Literacy Day

#LiteracyDay

Popularity score: 35.1

#InternationalLiteracyDay

Popularity score: : 34.7

September 12 – Video Games Day

#NationalVideoGamesDay

Popularity score: 29.6

#VideoGamesDay

Popularity score: 28.7

September 19 – International Talk Like a Pirate Day

#TalkLikeAPirateDay

Popularity score: 53.6

#TLAPD

Popularity score: 29

September 20- National Grandparents Day

#GrandparentsDay

Popularity score: 40.1

#NationalGrandparentsDay

Popularity score: 26.3

September 21 – Day of Peace

#InternationalDayOfPeace

Popularity score: 37

#DayofPeace

Popularity score: 22.7

September 22 – First Day of Fall

#Fall

Popularity score: 66.4

#FirstDayofFall

Popularity score: 37.9

September 30 – Podcast Day

#PodcastDay

Popularity score: 34.6

#InternationalPodcastDay

Popularity score: 34.5

How Facebook Targets Ads to You

For paying advertisers, it just wouldn’t be enough for Facebook to pick up on your patterns of clicking on funny dog videos (guilty) and show you more of them. To be valuable to their advertisers, Facebook actually segments your interests by topic. It guesses what business and industry topics you follow, what hobbies and activities you enjoy, the news and entertainment you watch, the food and drink you consume, the fashion choices you make and even more than that.

You can see a cojohn's ad preferences screenshotmplete list of what Facebook has determined about your interests in their ad preferences section (you must be logged into your account to see this), and you can even help Facebook out with its guesses about you by removing things you aren’t actually interested in. Facebook gathers this information based on ads you’ve click on, apps you’ve installed, pages you’ve liked, and sites you’ve visited.

A couple sections down from “preferences” you’ll find an innocuous-looking section called “Your information.” You’ll probably recognize these categories as things you’ve told Facebook pretty consciously. Schools you’ve attended, your relationship status (it has to be Facebook Official, right?) and your job title. But notice that tab next to “About you” that’s called “Your categories.” Facebook says it’s added you to certain categories “based on information you’ve provided on Facebook and other activity.” I recently posted some road trip pictures from a vacation I took a couple weeks ago and now Facebook has categorized me as someone “away from family” and “away from hometown.” Too funny. Most of these guesses are pretty innocent, but it shows just how much Facebook is listening to you.

The next section down is called “Ad settings” and this will actually give you the opportunity to tell Facebook how it can and cannot advertise to you. This is a good option if you get a little weirded out seeing laser-focused ads on your newsfeed, but you should also note that turning off any of these settings does not stop Facebook from collecting the data.

I have the “Ads based on your use of websites and apps” featured turned on because I’ve found it useful in the past. This means that when you’re searching for a product online (not necessarily on Facebook), Facebook gets to use that search information to show you ads pertaining to that search. So if you’re browsing winter boots online through Amazon, you’ll likely see ads in your Facebook feed for winter boots later on.

I also have “Ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies” enabled. This has to do with Facebook’s “Audience Network,” which is a fancy name for sites that Facebook has partnered with so that Facebook advertisers can have more ad real estate across the web. All this preference means is that the information Facebook knows about you can be used for ads not just on Facebook, but on other sites as well. It means that ads across sites you visit will likely be more relevant to you since it’s not just a guess coming from other generic data like your gender or location.

example of amy's fruitcake adNow we get to the one feature I make sure to have turned off. It’s called “Ads with your social actions” and it almost means that you are letting Facebook use you as a means to advertise to your friends. You may have seen ads like “Joe Smith likes Amy’s Fruitcakes” appear in your newsfeed. This is an ad paid for by Amy’s Fruitcakes and Joe Smith has agreed to let Facebook use his name to help promote the store. By disabling this feature, you basically remove Facebook’s permission to use your account in conjunction with these types of ads. I don’t consider my actions on social media to be an endorsement of anything, so this is a feature I have turned off.

Remember that turning off any or all of these preferences doesn’t mean that Facebook isn’t tracking what you’re doing and constantly trying to figure out more about you. But, it does mean that you can choose the ads you see. Turning off all of these preferences would likely just result in Facebook showing you a bunch of ads that aren’t relevant to you at all. I figure that since you’re going to see ads anyway, you might as well see ones that might be useful. But it’s up to you to make that decision!

You can learn more about how Facebook reports their ads to work on their website, and for more expert insights you can always ask the pros here at Buzzly Media! We provide social media management for organizations and businesses of all size and are happy to provide free consultations.

 

6 Social Media Mistakes You Might be Making

Social media is an alluring way for businesses to advertise, but it also comes with many pitfalls that you may not expect to encounter. Each platform has its own preferences for post types, image sizes and even search optimization. Without a pretty good grasp on the intricacies of each platform, you may be making these mistakes and making your company look less professional and even a bit silly.

Screenshot of Digiorno's tweet reading: "A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting."

An embarrassing (and easily avoidable) mistake made by a big brand on social media.

  1. Rushed posting. One of our cringiest pet peeves is when it’s obvious that a page has posted something that was not looked over or thought out. You can end up with typos, inappropriate hashtag use or just messy-looking posts. Make it a rule that at least one other person looks over a post before it goes live, you can save yourself a lot of grief over little mistakes. Similarly, you also always want to check what trending hashtags relate to before using them in your own messaging. You don’t want to wind up with a debacle like DiGiorno’s mistake in 2014 where they used a trending hashtag relating to domestic violence to advertise their pizza. One tweet may not seem like a big deal, but if you make a mistake it can turn into bad news for your organization.

    Graphic reading: The 2017 SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE SIZES CHEAT SHEET

    Please refer to this when you are sizing images for social media!

  2.  Incorrect formatting. Take advantage of the plethora of social media cheat sheets for image sizing. If you’ve sized a cover photo for Pinterest you’ll have to change it around for Facebook so it fits. Similarly, a long vertical picture will work great on Pinterest but looks bad on Twitter. Just keep in mind what works best for the different platforms so that your posts are as visually appealing as possible.
  3. Inconsistent voice. We frequently see companies that just allow all their employees to have access to their social media accounts and post whenever and whatever they like. While this is a nice thought, it leads to a distractingly inconsistent voice and tone across your posts and makes you look pretty unprofessional. You don’t want to give your followers whiplash from all the different types of posts going up on your pages. Try to stick to one voice, one tone and one theme across posts. This can be achieved by having only one person in charge of the account or by hiring professionals like us to manage it for you!

    Graphic reading: "We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%."

    Everything you post on social media should include a visual.

  4. No visuals. If there’s anything worse than formatting images incorrectly, it’s not even having visuals in the first place. Text-only posts are boring. Facebook has tried to spice them up a bit by making short text posts bigger and by allowing users to put pretty colors behind text posts as well. But business pages can’t use the color feature and often the 35 character limit is usually just too short for you to get much across. The only weapons left to get people’s attention are visuals. Video is taking over and posting relevant video content will always perform better. But if you don’t have a video to go with your post then at least find a license-free picture somewhere to make your post pretty! By 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic. Get ahead of the curve!
  5. Platform misuse. Pinning 50 different things to a Pinterest board every day is totally acceptable. But sharing 50 different things to your Facebook page is going to make you (and your company!) look a little crazy. Similarly, you should absolutely be hashtagging your posts on Twitter and Instagram. But for Facebook and LinkedIn this practice is pretty much useless and it makes you look like a novice if you’re using them. LinkedIn won’t even acknowledge your hashtags and Facebook will make it look like it’s using them (they turn blue) but Facebook posts without a hashtag fare better than those with a hashtag. It’s true. Learn about your platforms before posting anything.

    Graphic of the top 10 hashtags related to dogs. Screenshot generated by Hashtagify.

    Some quick investigation into relevant hashtags can make it much easier for a search engine to find your content!

  6. Disregard of search engine optimization (SEO). To piggyback off of platform misuse, we have to talk about disregarding SEO. Social media is a treasure trove of SEO. You should be researching what keywords and phrases people are using for your brand and paying attention to high-performing hashtags you can use. There are great tools for doing this, Keyhole can give you a good idea of good hashtags to use and even Hashtagify. You should save room in your tweets for at least two to three hashtags and put up to 30 hashtags at the end of your Instagram posts. Even Pinterest is hashtag-friendly! If you’re trying to reach the biggest audience possible you need to take the steps to help search engines find your content.

 

So there you have it. A basic overview of six mistakes you might be making on social media along with some ideas on how to fix them. If you’re still struggling with getting a handle on the intricacies of social media marketing, we offer training and comprehensive social media packages. Send us an email at info@buzzlymedia.com if you’re ready to hand over the responsibility to the experts.

5 Insider Questions to Ask Your Social Media Agency

Wondering if the social media agency you’re considering hiring (or have hired…) can be trusted with your brand? Obviously you need to grill them on why they are qualified, how often you can expect them to be posting, etc etc. However, if you feel like you’re missing something, check out our insider questions that you definitely need to be asking.

  1. Do your employees actually write the social media postings and blog content? One of the biggest loopholes in the industry is for an agency to hire someone cheaper to write content for them. They will then resell this content to you, the client, at a higher price. This practice is called whitelabeling and if you are considering hiring an agency that does it you need to really scrutinize if the rest of the package is good enough to make up for the fact that the content you are getting is produced by someone working for a lot less money than you are paying.
  2. Do you track analytics? A company that is posting across social media platforms but not analyzing the success of each and every post is only doing half its job. Each and every post needs to be under a microscope so that the strategy can be tailored to what is working. You should expect quarterly (if not monthly, as provided by Buzzly Media) analytics reports detailing the success of the agency’s efforts.
  3. Are you using scheduling tools to schedule out all the content posted? If so, how far out do you schedule? While scheduling posts is not necessarily terrible, it does have a couple downfalls. First, if an agency is scheduling weeks and months of content out in advance, that means they cannot be using analytics on previous posts to improve each one that comes after. The furthest out day to day posts should be scheduled is about a week. You want your agency to be constantly adapting and reanalyzing their strategies online. Additionally, we have pretty good evidence to indicate that scheduling on certain platforms (we’re looking at you, Twitter) is punished by the platform itself. Of course, social media platforms prefer unique, off the cuff content. They know that’s not what they’re getting when content is scheduled. While it’s fine to have a separate bank of approved content ready to go, it’s advisable to have a real live human post it at the time you want it to go out. Another advantage to this is that a real live person can be watching various platforms for things that are “trending,” and can post something relevant on your profiles that may surge if it’s in line with what’s going on at that moment.
  4. Is this your full time job? Okay, okay, a little personal. But important. You want the agency you hire to be at the ready at all times to post fresh content, respond to people who comment on things, and monitor what’s going on. If you’re hiring an agency with a bunch of part-time staffers, things can get lost in the shuffle and you know they’ll be leaning heavily on things like scheduling content way out in advance. This is a question closely tied to the amount of work each employee is responsible for. No one person should be managing more than five clients at a time. It just won’t be good, believe us.
  5. Where do you get the images/graphics you will be posting on our profiles? If you want to post something about dogs and just google “dogs” you will get an abundance of adorable pictures. But you can’t just download the first one you find most adorable because copyrights exist! Even if a picture is on the internet, it can still be protected under copyright, and you can get in huge trouble for using someone else’s picture to promote your brand. Agencies should have a few solid sites or resources at their disposal for quality photos and should ideally be creating their own graphics. (Our favorite source for license free photos is Unsplash!)

Not getting the answers you want from any of the agencies you’re thinking of hiring? Buzzly Media is a social media marketing agency with an expertise in nonprofit branding. Drop us an email; we’ll respond with surprising speed.

6 Essential Marketing Channels for Nonprofits

Marketing in the digital age gets more and more complex every day. There are new platforms to consider, old platforms to throw out, and overall way too many things for one person to think about. If you’re wondering what marketing channels you shouldn’t be ignoring, you’re in the right place! We’ve elaborated on “The Big Six Channels” put forth in the 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report.

  1. Websites. Please please please have a search engine optimized, easy to navigate and mobile-friendly website. If search engines cannot find your website, users may not be able to get to it in the first place! If your website is hard to look through, users will get frustrated and leave. And if your site is not mobile-friendly, you could be losing more than half your traffic. (Yes, according to SimilarWeb’s State of Mobile Web US 2015 report, an average of 55.67% of site traffic now comes from mobile devices.)
  2. Email. If you think email sounds old school and have shifted your focus away from it you are doing your organization a huge disservice. A recent survey by Adobe showed that even millennials are addicted to email, checking it more frequently than any other age group and even checking it while using the bathroom! (Gross, but true!) Email is a great way to directly reach your followers, but beware of fatiguing them with too much of it. 
  3. Traditional social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram… They’re all still extremely valuable to an organization looking to increase brand awareness. These channels will help make your organization become an authority in its industry and keep up engagement with followers. A Blackbaud study on the next generation of American giving recently found that “Nearly 60 percent of Gen Y identified the ability to directly see the impact of their donation as a critical part of the decision process – this tails off with the older generations.” More and more, people want to really see where their money is going. Social media is a great way to show people that. (And be sure to start focusing on visual social media, Instagram and videos are the ways of the future!) 
  4. In-person events. There’s nothing like humans telling other humans about causes they care about. Nonprofits cannot afford to eliminate events from their marketing strategy. Get on the mailing lists of local convention centers and check events on sites like EventBrite to stay up to date on relevant happenings your organization can attend! 
  5. Print marketing. That’s right, it’s still worth your time to print things onto pieces of paper. From printing beautifully designed event tickets to putting together newsletters, don’t write off print marketing just yet. Though many will claim that things like direct mailers are dying off, we know that mailings have grown modestly year over year and that people are indicating they do still read their physical mail. While your response from these efforts may skew towards an older demographic (55+) you certainly don’t want to ignore it as a channel. 
  6. Media Relations and Public Relations. According to Everything-PR, “Media relations can be described as a company’s interactions with editors, reporters and journalists.” You need someone in your organization to be connected to the news world and constantly be looking for opportunities to get your organization out there. Similarly, you’ll need some public relations people to effectively handle that communication and choose the message you want to send to the public. Without these two things no one will ever know what a great job your nonprofit is doing in the community!

If this seems like a daunting list then think about what is most important to your organization’s goals and try to prioritize from there. Also remember that you can outsource a lot of this to professionals–we’ve previously talked about some reasons to outsource social media! You don’t have to go it alone. Happy marketing!