Marketing

KNOWCONTENT.png

VLOG: 5 WAYS TO BEST UTILIZE INSTAGRAM STORIES

One of the latest and greatest methods for engaging your audience is Instagram stories. 

More than 500 million people are daily active Instagram story viewers. It’s a great way for businesses to increase brand awareness, get on the top of people’s feeds, and drive engagement with their followers.

Stories allow you to connect with people in a more impactful and engaging way, and they help build that trust that makes people want to work with you.

In addition to video production, our company also manages several social media accounts in Knoxville, and we’re excited to share with you our top 5 ways to best utilize Instagram stories for your business. 

Let’s go! 

 

1. Use Them Regularly

Active posting is crucial because the more recent your story is, the more likely the content will appear first on top of someone’s instagram feed. If you’re wondering what types of IG story content works best for businesses, some of our favorites are: 

  • Behind the scenes – show people the inner workings of your business or life; it makes you more relatable
  • Teaser – if something big is coming up, get some hype built up around it by teasing it on your story
  • Polls – helps you learn about your followers, and is one of the primary ways to actually get them to engage with you through stories
  • Questions – a classic Q&A sesh allows your followers to ask you questions about yourself or your business, and  be sure to actively respond to them
  • Go live – this allows you to respond in real time to comments from viewers -nothing is more real than that

2. Encourage Engagement

Iphone with IG poll feature displayedIG stories are a great way for you to interact directly with your loyal followers and gain insights directly from them. Use polls to learn about your audience, whether it be the type of content their looking for from you or their favorite taco place, it’s a great way to engage your followers. 

 

Also, a Q&A session really allows your followers to engage with you as they ask questions about you or your business. You could even go live to respond in real time to their comments or questions.

 

 

3. Run Instagram Story Ads

75% of instagram users take actioniphone with IG ads interface on it – like visiting a website or making a purchase – after looking at an instagram ad. 

You can create story ads directly through the Facebook Ads Manager, or you can use the “promote” button on an existing story post to turn it into an ad (like boosting a Facebook post). 

These allow you to send viewers right to your profile, DM’s or your website. Make sure to use an active visual, like stop-motion, animated text or a regular video to capture the attention of your audience right away as their swiping through stories. This is a great way to get people to a certain webpage if you don’t have that swipe up feature that comes with 10,000 or more followers.

 

 

4. Utilize Instagram Story Highlights on Your Profile

Your Instagram profile is really like a landing page for your brand (business or personal), and using highlights allows your audience to view the content they’re most interested in. It also allows new visitors to your profile to get to know you right away. 

Use highlights to introduce your brand, your product or services, and show what it’s like to work with you. Make your highlight covers cohesive and branded to have a more polished look. We  recommend using Canva, which is a free online design software to create some awesome covers. They even have IG story templates already created that you can adjust to fit your brand.

photo of IG story highlight covers from the Peaceful Side of the Smokies account

Highlight covers on @PeacefulSmokies

5. Don’t Be Too Salesy

You’ll lose followers if you’re constantly using stories to make sales pitches. While you can definitely use them to convert followers to customers, stories are best utilized to show authenticity and create brand trust.

We hope these points gave you some ideas and inspiration on how you can best use Instagram stories for your business. If you ever have any questions about social media management, be sure to slide into our DM’s or contact us here. We’d love to help you out!

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
acer-device-digital-marketing-6168.jpg

BSM GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEO SPECS

Visually engaging content is the best way to attract audiences’ attention and drive brand awareness – in today’s world, that means video. 

Compelling video can be used in a variety of ways across your social media channels, and it’s important to ensure the viewer’s experience is fully optimized. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation – each platform requires its own unique set of video specs and sizes. 

You shouldn’t have to Google every time you need to create a channel-specific video. 

That’s where we come in. Here are the most important social media video specs you need.

You’re gonna wanna bookmark this. 

FACEBOOK

Facebook offers this as a general rule-of-thumb for optimizing your videos: “Use custom settings when you export your video: With editing software like Final Cut Pro, Avid or iMovie, we recommend you try H.264 video with AAC audio in MOV or MP4 format, an aspect ratio no larger than 1280px wide and divisible by 16px, a frame rate at or below 30fps and stereo audio with a sample rate of 44,100hz.

Upload the highest resolution video available that meets file size and ratio limits.

aspect ratio guide for Facebook

from Facebook

Facebook Feed Video

  • Recommended dimensions: 1280 x 720
  • Minimum width: 600 pixels (length depends on aspect ratio)
  • Aspect ratios: 16:9 (landscape), 9:16 (full portrait), 2:3 (vertical), 4:5 (vertical), square (1:1)
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 120 minutes

Desktop News Feed Link Video Ads (Landscape, Square & Right Column)

  • Recommended dimensions: 1280 x 720
  • Minimum dimensions: 600 x 315 (1.9:1 landscape) or 600 x 600 (square)
  • Aspect ratios: Landscape is 16:9 | Square is 1:1 
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 240 minutes

In-Stream Video Ads

  • Recommended dimensions: 1280 x 720
  • Minimum dimensions: 600 x 315 (1.9:1 landscape) or 600 x 600 (square)
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 recommended
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Video length: 5 – 15 seconds

Facebook Stories (& Story Ads)

  • Minimum dimensions: 500 x 500 
  • Aspect ratios: 1.91 to 9:16, with colored gradient bars rendered above and below videos under 9:16
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 15 seconds

Facebook Cover Video

  • Recommended dimensions: 820 x 462 (min. 820 x 312)
  • Required length: 20 – 90 seconds

Sources: 

INSTAGRAM

Like Facebook, Instagram’s recommendations are similar and you’re urged to use the highest video resolution possible.

aspect ratio chart for instagram

from YouTube channel Javier Mercedes

Instagram In-Feed Video (& Video Ads)

  • Recommended dimensions: 1920 x 1080; 1080 x 1080; 1080 x 1350
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 (1.9:1 landscape); 600 x 600 (square); 600 by 750 (vertical)
  • Aspect ratios: 16:9, 1:1, 4:5 (& 1.91:1)
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 60 seconds

Instagram Stories (& Story Ads)

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Minimum dimensions: 600 x 1067
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (and 16:9 to 4:5)
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Max video length: 15 seconds

(Consider leaving roughly 14% (250 pixels) of the top and bottom of the video free from text and logos to avoid covering these key elements with the profile icon or call-to-action.

Instagram TV (IGTV) 

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Minimum resolution: 720
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (and 16:9)
  • Max file size: 10 minutes or less is 650MB. Up to 60 minutes is 3.6GB. 
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4
  • Max video length: 15 seconds to 10 minutes (Larger accounts and verified accounts can upload videos up to 60 minutes long, but they must be uploaded from a computer.) 
  • Recommended cover photo size: 420 x 654 (1:1.55 ratio)

Sources: 

YOUTUBE

Youtube video sizes graphic

from learn.g2.com

Video Player (Standard YouTube Video)

  • Recommended dimensions: 426 x 240 (240p), 640 x 360 (360p), 854 x 480 (480p), 1280 x 720 (720p), 1920 x 1080 (1080p), 2560 x 1440 (1440p) and 3840 x 2160 (2160p)
  • Minimum dimension: 426 x 240
  • Max dimension: 3840 x 2160
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 (auto adds pillarboxing if 4:3)
  • Max file size: 128GB or 12 hours, whichever is less
  • Video formats: .MOV, .MPEG4, MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, and WebM
  • Max video length: 12 hours

YouTube Video Ads

Ads follow the same dimensions as the non-ad videos, but differ in video length

  • Skippable video ads: maximum length of 12 hours, skippable after 5 seconds
  • Unskippable video ads: max length of 15, 20 or 30 seconds
  • Mid-roll video ads: minimum length of 30 seconds
  • Bumper video ads: maximum length of 6 seconds

Sources: 

TWITTER

graphic of computer and mobile twitter video dimensions

from Zubtitle

Twitter Landscape & Portrait Videos (& Video Ads) 

  • Landscape recommended dimensions: 320 x 180 (256K bitrate), 640 x 360 (768K bitrate) and 1280 x 720 (2048K bitrate)
  • Portrait recommended dimensions: 240 x 240 (256K bitrate), 480 x 480 (768K bitrate) and 640 x 640 (1024K bitrate)
  • Minimum dimensions: 32 x 32
  • Maximum dimensions: 1280 x 1024
  • Aspect ratios: 1:2.39 to 2.39:1
  • Max file size: 512MB
  • Recommended video formats: .MP4 for web and .MOV for mobile
  • Max video length: 140 seconds

Sources: 

SNAPCHAT

snapchat longform video specs listed on phone

from SocialPilot

Snapchat 10-Second Video Ads

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Max file size: 32MB
  • Video formats: .MP4 and .MOV
  • Max video length:  3 – 10 seconds

Long-Form Video Ads

  • Recommended dimensions: 1080 x 1920
  • Aspect ratios: 9:16 or 16:9
  • Max file size: 1GB
  • Video formats: .MP4 and .MOV.
  • Minimum video length: 15 seconds (no max)

Sources: 

LINKEDIN

photo of three phones displaying Linkedin videos

from eDigital agency

Shared Video

  • Maximum size: 4,096 x 2,304 
  • Minimum size: 256 x 144 
  • Aspect ratio: 1:2.4 to 2.4:1
  • Max file size: 5GB
  • Video formats: .ASF, .AVI, .FLV, .MOV, .MPEG-1, .MPEG-4, .MKV, and .WebM
  • Minimum video length: 3 seconds (max: 10 minutes)

 

Video Ads

  • Required dimensions: 480 x 360 (360p), 640 x 360 (360p wide), 640 x 480 (480p), 960 x 720 (720p), 1280 x 720 (720p wide), 1440 x 1080 (1080p), 1920 x 1080 (1080p wide)
  • Maximum file size: 200 MB
  • Video format: .MP4
  • Max video length: 30 minutes (LinkedIn’s guidelines state most ads perform best at around 15 seconds)

Sources: 

PINTEREST

aspect ratios of Pinterest videos on a phone

from Pinterest

Shared Video (& Video Ads)

  • Recommended dimensions: 600 x 600 (square); 600 x 900 (vertical)
  • Minimum video resolution: 240p
  • Aspect ratios: 1:1 & 9:16
  • Portrait recommended dimensions: 240 x 240 (256K bitrate), 480 x 480 (768K bitrate) and 640 x 640 (1024K bitrate)
  • Max file size: 2GB
  • Video formats: .MP4 and .MOV
  • Max video length: 30 minutes

Sources: 

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
EVENT-MARKETING_VLOG.png

VLOG: TIPS & TRICKS FOR MARKETING YOUR EVENT

Some of the work we enjoy most is helping our partners out with their incredible events! From elegant award galas, to multi-day, action-packed music festivals, to educational conferences and seminars – we love diving into event social media marketing and video production. 

There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing strategy, but we wanted to share some of our basic tips and tricks for creating some buzz around your next event.

Here’s the vlog with Lucas to get things going: 

PRE-EVENT MARKETING

You gotta pay to play on social media to get noticed. Run ads on channels your target audience uses – we recommend Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. These can be general ads that simply provide event details, or a video ad with sponsor interviews, a hype promo video or ticket giveaways. If we’ve learned anything about pre-event social media marketing is that people LOVE free stuff. 

Seriously, they go nuts. 

The integration between Facebook and Instagram makes it super easy to manage your marketing budget and content for both platforms in one place – the Facebook Ads Manager. You can create custom or Look-Alike audiences to target the exact people you want at your event. 

If this is a first-time event without any prior video footage available, don’t worry! It’s still possible to create an awesome promo video with stock footage, animation or interviews with your talent or emcee. Just be sure to snag some video at the event for next year’s promotion.

 

 

DURING THE EVENT

The most important part of live event coverage is actively engaging with your attendees on social media and making people at home wish theywere there! 

Go live on Facebook or YouTube, get some shots of people having a great time and post it on your Instagram story and comment on posts about your event. Also, make sure your event uses a singular, memorable hashtag for all posts, and encourage others to use it as well. This provides you with user-generated content to repost, and increased engagement will ensure your hashtag is more visible on people’s feeds. 

Check out this Instagram highlight from one of our most recent events, Brimstone White Knuckle, to see some of the live event social coverage. 

white knuckle logo

 

OTHER RESOURCES

A great way to thank your sponsors and showcase your successful event is to create a recap video to post on all your social channels. These are some of our favorite videos we get to create because we’re able to share some incredible experiences and show off just how awesome our partners are. 

Recap videos can also be easily reworked to make a promotional video for the next event. That’s some great double-dippin’ for all the video footage you capture. 

If you’re working on a shoestring marketing budget and have to choose between pre-event coverage or a post-event recap video, we recommend focusing on pre-event marketing (especially for the first year) – because you want people to actually show up, right? 

Here’s the recap video for the Brimstone White Knuckle event mentioned above! 

 

If you’re planning your next event and need some help with social media strategy or video marketing, give us a call! We’d love to offer suggestions and partner with you.

OTHER RESOURCES

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
portrait-of-a-woman-at-desk-with-laptop-hand-at-PY5UXG3.jpg

Why Your Lame “Happy Thursday” Facebook Post is Annoying

We’ve all seen it.

The obligatory “post just to post.”

While that may be something your aunt Jene posts each week, it’s definitely not something your potential customers want to hear from your business Facebook page.

People are constantly bombarded with information and content, especially on social media, and small businesses have to cut through the noise to be heard. This means sharing valuable content – information customers want or need to see – not just posting “Happy Thursday” to have a post that day.

There’s a common misconception that it’s better to post something – anything – than to not post at all. However, this lack of strategic planning and messaging can negatively affect engagement and cause customers to hit “unfollow”… or even worse “unlike.”

We know it can feel daunting for small businesses to take time to develop a social media strategy, especially without a marketing budget or designated staff member. Most of the time social media is simply tacked on to someone’s existing personnel duties.

Does that sound like you? We’re here to help you lay a foundation for a solid social media strategy to stop those lame “Happy Thursday” Facebook posts.

Here are three elements to consider before your next post:

Relevancy

Stay relevant to your brand, industry and target audience. When potential customers look at your social media channels, they want to see content that matters to them at that time. This means staying up-to-date on the latest trends and news in your industry, as well as providing your followers with unique, original content. As soon as you’re not telling people what they want or need to hear, they will disengage.

Think about going to a party. Do you want to chat up a boring, self-promoting person the whole time or someone that truly engages and talks about subjects that matter to you? That’s exactly how your social media audiences feel.  

Also, consider partnering with a brand ambassador or social media influencer that is relevant to your business and industry. A strategic social media partnership can increase your brand’s relevance and audience engagement.  

Authenticity

Be authentic. Stay true to your brand and don’t try to be something you’re not. Your customers will be the first to notice when your messaging doesn’t reinforce your brand identity.

While it’s important to share information about an upcoming discount or sale or to highlight a featured product or service, your audience wants to connect with your brand. Share pictures of the office pet, a recent holiday party or staff members out at lunch. This type of content carries much weight, as it allows your audience to see your personality. It also performs much better organically.

Fifteen members of the Forbes Agency Council recently shared some tips for staying authentic in branding and marketing. Check it out!

Consistency

You need to be posting often, in a voice that is consistent with your other marketing platforms (website, blog, emails, etc.).

We’re not saying to post every day; [refer to the annoying Facebook post at the top of this page to see what happens when businesses try to post every day without a plan] however, you need to be engaging with your audience on a regular basis. If you go radio silent, you won’t stay top-of-mind with your customers. Consider using a social media management tool to schedule posts in advance and to keep track of engagement.

It’s also imperative to remain consistent in your tone of voice and messaging across all social media channels. Even if you have multiple staff members managing your accounts, your customers shouldn’t be able to tell. A strong plan and internal communication are key.

Now What?

These three elements lay the basic foundation for a solid social media strategy, and they can be implemented right away. Relevancy attracts customers to your business, while authenticity and consistency keep them interested and engaged.

Certain aspects of social media management are difficult – building ad audiences, creating an engaging ad, selecting demographics and ad spends can be hard for small businesses to maneuver – but what’s NOT difficult is being yourself and putting some thought and planning behind this free marketing tool.

So, set up a meeting or brainstorming session in your office. Audit your competitors to see what works for them. Consider working with a professional agency* to help you. Start building your brand’s social media strategy today – and thwart all those lame “Happy Thursday” Facebook posts.

*shameless plug

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
media-998990_960_720.jpg

Facebook Advertising Updates: What You Need to Know

Detailed. User-Friendly. Cost Effective. Facebook advertising is widely considered the method for getting the best bang for your buck when promoting your business – with more than two billion monthly Facebook users and 500 million daily users on Instagram (they’re integrated for seamless advertising on both channels). However, this powerful marketing tool looks a bit different than it did just six months ago.

Whether you’ve been advertising on Facebook for years or you’re a beginner just getting your feet wet with Facebook ads, there are some recent updates to the platform you should be aware of as you move forward.

The Removal of “Partner Categories”

Launched in 2013, the Partner Categories feature enabled Facebook advertisers to further refine ad targeting with big data from partners like Acxiom and Epsilon. This detailed targeting included offline demographic and behavioral information previously unavailable to small business owners, like homeownership and purchase history. It was considered a great option for businesses without access to customer data to create their own custom audiences, but it left Facebook users feeling vulnerable and that their privacy had been violated.

This feature is currently being phased out permanently. Last month, Partner Categories were no longer available in advertising campaign creation, editing or duplication. On October 1, 2018, no advertising campaigns will deliver to previous Partner Categories.

Why the change?  Two main reasons:

  1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the primary law in the European Union regulating how companies protect citizens’ personal data – went into effect this past spring.
  2. Also this past spring, you may recall seeing negative press about Facebook mishandling third-party data during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. At least, you remember the birth of the “Mark Zuckerberg is a robot” memes.

What now? Utilize your existing data. Upload your current customer list to Facebook to create a Custom Audience, and use that data to create Lookalike Audiences (which will target people similar to your current customers). You can also still target based on other data Facebook collects for its Core Audiences – which reach people based on certain demographics, location, interests and behaviors. Learn more about Facebook ad targeting here.

 

The Elimination of 5,000 Ad Targeting Options

Another big change in Facebook advertising includes the removal of 5,000 targeting options from its custom audience tools. This update was made to prevent discriminatory advertisements from running on the platform. In a recent blog post, Facebook said:

We’re committed to protecting people from discriminatory advertising on our platforms. That’s why we’re removing over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse. While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important. This includes limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.

Why the change? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a complaint against Facebook last month for allowing discrimination in targeted ads related to housing.

For example, the complaint states: “Facebook enables advertisers to discriminate based on national origin by not showing ads to users whom Facebook categorizes as interested in ‘Latin America,’ ‘Southeast Asia,’ ‘China,’ ‘Honduras,’ ‘Somalia,’ ‘the Hispanic National Bar Association’ or ‘Mundo Hispanico.’” It also says that Facebook advertisers could discriminate based on sex, disability, familial status, religion, and race and color.

This was allowing advertisers to violate the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits the discrimination of potential renters or homebuyers by landlords and sellers.

What now? More than 5,000 targeting options are being removed to prevent misuse. Also, while Facebook has previously required advertisers offering housing, employment or credit ads to certify compliance with its non-discrimination policy, the new certification will roll out to all U.S. advertisers via the Ad Manager tool. The company stated:

Advertisers will be required to complete this certification in order to continue advertising on Facebook. We’ve designed this education in consultation with outside experts to underscore the difference between acceptable ad targeting and ad discrimination.

Facebook may have more updates in the coming months as they continue to refine their tools. We’ll be sure to share any other major changes, so stay tuned!

Need help with your Facebook advertising campaigns? Let us know!

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
audience-backlit-band-154147.jpg

A 6 Step Plan to Event Management Social Media Success

Our event clients generally have one thing in common: they have a lot on their plates. Events take time, energy, and there is usually a smorgasbord of moving pieces. Many times, we have filled the role of creating engaging social media content and then managing these social avenues for the duration of the event. Social media is such a useful tool for your events. It affords an exciting build-up, live interaction with customers, a platform for effective promotional deliverability, meaningful follow-up with your audience, and educating insights.

Our events come in all shapes and sizes, but the approach is always the same. No matter the size of your event, here are 6 steps to make sure your social media brings life and money to it. And all of these steps are useful whether you are spending money on social media ads or just running an organic campaign for your event.

(According to 857 event managers)

Oh, wait, before you get there…

Before you ever set foot on the social terrain, till the fields first. Figure out your audience and what social media platforms to use. Your audience is unique, so define it. Then, find out where those customers are. How are you engaging with them now? If you’re not, find out where they are. Possibly research other events similar to yours and explore how those events reach their audience. Once you’ve smoothed out the soil, then you’re ready to strategize.

 

[Pre-event Steps]

STEP 1: Timeline and Budget

A good place to start is with the timeline. We recommend a couple weeks to a month before the event, but honestly, the earlier the better. It’s ok if you are posting before then obviously, this will just be the real diving board that springs your hype train into action. The length and frequency of your event may change this as well.

Then, how much are you willing to spend? Speakers, performers, caterers, venues and staff are all important, but getting people there is how you will make money, so set a budget. When it comes to boosting posts for events – which we always recommend – the more you spend the more you reach. A budget with wiggle room is a healthy budget. In the end, you get what you give.

 

STEP 2: The Set-Up

This step will help you so much in the long run. It’s like leg day. Don’t skip it. Get your social avenues ready. With Facebook and Instagram, make sure you set up Facebook Pixel and Business Manager. These will help you see tracked results. Set up the main page on platforms you will advertise on with fluidity. Each page should look virtually the same unless they have different goals. You want people on LinkedIn to be able to visit the Facebook page and not feel lost. Check ticket and website links, descriptions of events, important details, etc.

Another crucial part of this set-up is getting drafted posts ready for any emergencies you might have. Have a rainout post ready, a time change post ready, any other emergency plans, and definitely, definitely, definitely set up an instant reply in the direct message field. Lead people to your website for the main hub of info. This will cut down on time spent answering mundane “what time are you open” questions. The “Set-Up” step is commonly overlooked, but I promise, it will keep you from ripping hair out later.

 

STEP 3: Generate and Organize Content

This is where you get to use those creativity skills. Make some written content ready to publish. Think of unique ways to interact with users via polls, promotions or a fun video. This is the time to create any content, including pictures and videos that you might need. Make a mark next to the ones you think are exceptional and consider boosting those. When you have all this, put it in one, organized place, like Google Drive, Dropbox or a hard drive.

The written content needs to be kept somewhere safe for STEP 4, but physically creating it is where you make your money. Good, quality content is a must in any marketing effort, but especially in social media. Social media is the pilgrimage of short attention spans, so make your content good and true to your brand. Some of the best content we’ve found builds attention through giveaways. Everyone loves free stuff. Need post ideas?

 

STEP 4: Schedule

Pronounced “shed-jewel,” this is paired nicely with STEP 3. After you have organized photos, videos, gifs, etc. that you will use, schedule the posts you know you will have for your entire campaign. This is optional if you have the manpower necessary to do it on the spot or week-to-week, but we have found that when you can hash it out in a few hours, you are more likely to be creative than if you had to cram three new posts in at 9 AM one morning.

We have created our own Google doc that we put the copy in, a link to the picture or video for that post, a time stamp, and the amount we will boost it for. This is the most streamlined solution we have found. We can copy and paste it over to the platforms in an hour or two. It also allows us to be transparent with clients, getting to show them every post before any take place. This can be mundane work, but it pays off when you don’t have to post day-to-day. Here are some awesome scheduling apps.

 

[During-event Steps]

STEP 5: Engage

There is no such thing as off-time in social media management during events. Interaction with customers during events can be just as important for your brand as anything else. It’s a wonderful avenue for timely updates, news on the event, or calls to a specific part of the event. This can be one of the biggest hassles for an event manager as well.

Every major social platform now has ways to generate live content, which is a huge added bonus for events that use social. You can update people creatively, and it’s a sure-fire way to draw attention to something. Everyone who likes your page or follows you will get a mobile notification about you going live. This is something that is commonly overlooked, but we love offering it to clients as a unique engagement point.

Last, it’s important to be checking the comments on your posts daily and filtering negative comments, responding to poor reviews, and getting excited with people. This type of engagement is what could separate you from the competition. People love when brands interact with them. Wendy’s twitter account is the perfect example. They started interacting with comments often and grew in popularity tremendously. But, you probably shouldn’t roast people as much as them…

STEP 6: Analyze and Correct

We keep an extremely close eye on the accounts we manage. Treat it like your baby. Each day we are looking at interactions and comments, pinpointing hot areas of engagement both with content and geographically. These highly important analytics can help you narrow down the good versus the bad content and also expose under-marketed groups in your strategy. If you use Facebook, integrating Facebook Pixel can be a great way to denote how clicks are getting from Facebook to your site.

From a timeliness standpoint, we operate at a weekly report and then post-event report. This allows Facebook’s algorithm with ads and general posts to take effect each week before we make adjustments and after the event, we can make notes on what to change for the next year. Make notes. If you are like us, you won’t remember all of it without having it written down.

 

SO WHAT? 

Some event managers like to take on the task of social media and feel they have the capability to do it well. That’s awesome. Some understand the value of social media in marketing their event but are simply too busy to give it the attention it deserves. So, they outsource it to an agency or someone on their team. That’s awesome too. Bottom line is that social media can boost an event tremendously. It can be the Big Mac sauce that draws people in, or it can be the thorn in your side that never gets the attention it should.

If you choose to take on the task at hand for your event, recognize the vast opportunity it has to bring valuable customers to you and positively impact your brand. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea, that’s why companies like us exist. We love taking on new challenges and showing event managers what social media can do for them. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s important, and it’s the real “foot-soldier” type work we love to do. Give us a call and we’ll help grow your event! – 865.291.0005

Check out one of our event social media clients – The Charlotte Fair

A story from social media coverage at Brimstone Paragon

Our Social Media Services

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
brain-2062057_1920.jpg

Powerful Brainstorming: The Do’s and Don’ts

Generating ideas is the lifeblood of the creative professional. As a content creation agency, we are no strangers to the importance of a good brainstorming session. We understand the necessity of it, the fun of it, and the dangers of it. Every sports team must devise a plan to execute on the field in order to win and often times, allowing players to bring their skills to practices can be where these plans develop. Most games are won and lost on the practice field. Brainstorming sessions for us are a much more fun and much less sweaty version of sports practices. “Brainstorming” shouldn’t be foreign for you either, however, it’s important to make sure you are efficient and successful in your sessions, so let us step in and offer some tips.

What is Brainstorming?

Brainstorming is a popular idea that dates back to 1939, with a guy named Alex F. Osborn. He was an advertising professional that outlined this idea in his book, Your Creative Power, under the chapter title, “How to Organize a Squad to Create Ideas.” What a great word – “Squad.” Brainstorming should definitely feel like a “squad” effort. Everyone contributing, collaborating and creating.

  • Quantity over quality of ideas
  • Withhold criticism
  • Welcome ALL ideas
  • Combine and improve

These are the foundations of Osborn’s formula, and frankly, they haven’t changed much in today’s powerful brands. Take Forbes or Disney for example, who both still preach many of these ideas in their brainstorming processes. Like many things in the creative sphere, brainstorming can look different for every company depending on the situation or problem you’re tackling.

 

Big Slate’s Do’s and Don’ts of Brainstorming

 

Valiant effort Michael Scott, but whatever this monstrosity is (although hilarious!); DON’T allow it to happen. We have appropriately come up with brainstorming guidelines that work for us under the acronym – S.Q.U.A.D. 

 

S – Simplicity

  • DO: Have a meeting leader that sets rules and a time limit on these meetings – (we have found that 30 minutes is a sweet spot for us). People get tired and it’s ok to cut a meeting off and let ideas simmer so you can come back to them later for a more finite meeting.
  • DON’T: Allow people to come in with no idea of the problem at hand. Give them a heads up to prepare ideas so the meeting can offer value.

Q – Quantity

  • DO: Allow any and all ideas. Even if an idea is far off, let it be a casting point for branch ideas that might be awesome.
  • DON’T: Cut the ideas off at just a few. The more the merrier, because once you sit down with the client or upper management to make a decision, it’s better to have a hierarchy of 100 ideas to present than to only have one that you love and watch it get crushed.

U – Understanding

  • DO: Understand each other’s ideas, and if the leader says that your idea is out of scope, understand that it’s ok. You aren’t bad at ideas, you just need to change your approach.
  • DON’T: Be mean. First grade 101. Treat people with respect and have fun creating.

A – Ask and Apply

  • DO: Ask people to extrapolate their ideas so you can start analyzing the ones that will work best and try applying these answers to other ideas.
  • DON’T: Narrow perspective. Let people be creative when you ask questions. [“I don’t see how that works.” – Not constructive or helpful.]

D – DEMOCRACY!

  • DO: We put it up to a voting system for people to pick the best thought-out and creative solutions so that we have a system of choosing the best ideas. It allows for fairness to the approach and it’s AMERICA’s founding principle, so naturally, we like it.
  • DON’T: Allow someone to “iron fist” the session. That should be a rule set at the beginning. It’s about a collaboration of everyone’s ideas, not just one person’s.

 

Above all these guidelines we use, our number one is to HAVE FUN. A brainstorm space should be a safe place for creative people to laugh, build and imagine together to create awesome solutions. When you leave with that feeling of “wanting more,” that’s the good stuff. When it doesn’t feel as powerful, back off the table for a little while and come back later. It’s ok. Plenty of world-famous chefs had to try recipes multiple times to make it perfect. So, get back to the stove and whip up something fresh and new!

Other Sources of Brainstorming Fun

12 Brainstorming Techniques – HubSpot

Brain-Writing

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
email-3249062_1280.png

The Tricks of Email Marketing Magic

Alla-Khazam! Welcome to Big Slate Media’s reasons to email market. Since the dawn of the internet age, emails have been part of humanities’ second nature. In fact, 91% of people check email daily. That’s outstanding. In today’s magic show, we will make all your email marketing fears vanish.

For starters, if you are reading this and haven’t ever dabbled in email marketing because you think it’s too hard, or it doesn’t work that well, or “I can’t afford it”, then I’m here to say – FAKE NEWS.

The Escape Artist

Escape the straightjacket of “I can’ts” and “should’ves”. It’s really more simple than you think. For starters, if you aren’t collecting emails, then you need to create an opt-in form for your website or a form in your store for new customers. The people that opt-in are the ones that will buy more from you. Imagine a dating world where every person that was interested in you could give you their number… It’s streamlined dating, and this is streamlined sales. If you don’t have a website or don’t have a way to receive form submissions (you should really fix that), guess what… you still have a list. All of your existing customers! Surely you have their emails and they are a great way to start building a list of people that are already familiar with your brand.

If you have an email submission form already running on your website, go use a free email service, like MailChimp to put that list to use. It is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, has great templates, and you can track all kinds of useful data. MailChimp also has very useful tools to create those opt-ins, as previously talked about, if you still need to do that.

Truth is, after that setup process, the only thing that takes time, is the email creation; and that can be done every week, every month, or even quarterly. Really, whatever you can commit too. So, don’t be afraid. It’s so easy, that there are companies that are entirely built on email lists, like Scott’s Cheap Flights! “Scott’s” uses this as their primary way of communicating about their product (super awesome deals on international flights) to their customers. This is the ONLY way they deliver their product to the customer. That’s how powerful it is. There are 3x more emails accounts in existence than Facebook and Twitter accounts combined, it has the highest ROI of any marketing channel, and it’s not too late or too hard for you to start now.

Email Marketing – Pulling the Rabbit Out of the Hat

Now, once your ready to write your first email blast, use these tools as a means to dazzling the customer.

 

1) You can offer customers something.

If you’ve signed up for an email list at a store somewhere and have received any kind of coupon or special event, then you have been offered something. Once you sign up and receive these offers, you are probably more likely to return to that store because they are offering YOU something unique. This generates quality customers that will come back, but it is also a tool to convince people to opt-in to a list in the first place. “Get a free consultation when you sign up for our newsletter.” “25% off your first online purchase when you subscribe to our email catalog.”

 

2) You can be highly relevant!

We tell clients this all the time. Relevancy is most important to reaching customers. Amazon is a perfect example of this. “Great Christmas gifts under $15”. We all know those categories because usually, they matter to us. When thinking about how to be relevant to your audience in email marketing, think when are we the busiest and why. How can we matter to our customers? Remind them that you have a service or product that they love.

 

3) It can be the Nucleus of your marketing efforts.

Email marketing can glue it all together. Your advertising goals can be email form submissions, or you can track click-through rates. You can even link the form submission page on your Facebook. It simply can be the heartbeat of your marketing efforts, where social media, Google ads, Youtube content, and everything else can come to one main stage. Manage smarter, not harder. If you are worried about people unsubscribing, just remember that you don’t want people in your funnel that don’t have the potential to buy. If they leave, then your list is purer.

The Bow

So, if you aren’t using email lists and marketing to your customers through it, there is no better time than now to add some magic to your marketing efforts. Feel free to call us if you ever need help, but we’ll leave you with some helpful resources that we keep bookmarked.

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
Youtube-Marketing-3.jpg

YouTube Marketing – That Was Easy!

Youtube is a home for both the inspired and the strange, a place where viral videos plant their seeds; and of course, the global archive of first steps, big fails, and cat videos. But that’s not all. Youtube is also a highly effective place to market your business, and it’s easy! You just need the tools.

As a digital marketing agency in Knoxville focused in video production, we work with both small and large clients on creative content and we’ve learned that businesses sometimes devalue how Youtube could help them. So, we’re here to tell you that it can help you and definitely should be part of your 2018 marketing plan.

First, how big is Youtube, really? (2018 Youtube specs)

  • Over 1 Billion users (one-third of internet population)
  • More than half of total Youtube views come from mobile
  • More 18-49 year olds reached on mobile alone than any cable TV network
  • One billion hours watched daily

Youtube is a massive database that entertains a diverse and vast audience. If done well, your business will see a huge increase in Google search rankings, social engagement with customers, leads, and brand exposure overall through Youtube. But how?

 

Local Youtube Marketing Examples:

Mike’s Golf Shop (Chattanooga, Tn):

Time spent: 40 seconds; Views: 700,000

So, you’re telling me that if I’m looking for golf clubs, this is the wrong place?

  • Mike is a character. His brand is who he is, which is one of the most important tools of Youtube. We can show our brand, our company culture, or be informational. In this case, Mike did all three.
  • The viral nature of Youtube has sprouted out of the social media integration abilities of it, making it easy to target a specific audience, especially if you are already using other social platforms (ie. boosted posts on Facebook).
  • Youtube is owned by Google so your Google Search ranking is affected by the title and keywords in the description of the video, as well. Mike’s Golf, for example, is the first organic results on Google in his area.

Let’s take a look at another example, even closer to home for us.

 

Crawl Space Ninja (Knoxville, Tn):

Time Spent: estimated. 1 – 2 hours; Views: 1,000+ (Some videos have over 100K views)

Crawlspace Ninja does some really great stuff on Youtube as well. As you can tell, it’s more information based than Mike’s. Goals are the same, but the path is different.

  • Both wanted to grow sales by way of brand awareness. They stuck to their own brands and used social media.
  • In this case, Crawl Space Ninja brands themselves on Youtube as a “self-help” channel with videos that will build them a returning customer base that trusts them.
  • They can continue building loyalty while finding more customers along the way by using Youtube pre-roll and SEO tactics.

 

These two guys are just a couple examples of how you can grow your business through Youtube. Block out a day and create some engaging content. Youtube is a huge marketing gold mine and you need to be getting your share!

Give us a call if you need help and check out our most recent work!

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team

Writing an Effective Blog

It’s More Important Than You Think

Blog articles are the absolute single most important piece of digital marketing. They are the heart and soul of any social media campaign. Oh, and they are the primary way to influence your Google search ranking for particular keywords. No big deal…

Being a content creation agency in Knoxville, we work with dozens of incredible businesses to help write content that makes an impact in their digital marketing. We thought we’d share a few of the key elements we use when writing blog content.

Make It Helpful

Ok, so let’s take this blog article for instance; we’re providing some real, helpful content. We’ve recognized our audience (typically marketing directors, small business owners, etc) and are providing information that we know will help them better their business. At the same time, we’ve thrown in some keywords and optimized the page content for optimal search engine indexing to help with our organic search ranking. It’s a win-win!

Keyword Saturation

You have to be classy about this part. Google Bot reads at roughly a 3rd-grade reading level. Meaning, it’s not stupid. If you throw an article together that’s just a ridiculous compilation of your target keywords and really doesn’t flow, Google will figure it out.

It’s always a good idea to start from a place of helping your customers and sharing information with them. Make the article read pretty, then if you happen to be able to work in some of your target keywords, that’s even better.

Jazz It Up

Let’s face it. While blog articles can be really helpful, they just can’t keep people’s attention. Throwing in a related photo or video will not only help people stay engaged with your article, but it also helps with your Google ranking.

Distribution is the Name of the Game

Once you’ve created an awesome blog article, it’s time to share it with the world. Facebook, LinkedIn, and email blasts are always a great start. We encourage all of our clients to get involved in an online community group or forum for their industry. That can be a great place to share the article.

Each place you share an article creates a new backlink to your website. Building backlinks help build your Google Page Trust as an information source people are sharing and encouraging others to use. This will definitely help your organic search ranking. Again, don’t abuse this. Only post your article on websites or in groups where the information will be welcomed.

In The End, Just Make It Awesome & Make it Yours

Your focus should be on creating something helpful to contribute to the wealth of knowledge on the internet, but do it in your own voice! Remember, it’s YOUR brand that you’re representing, so don’t try to be something you’re not. Find your audience. Talk to them like you are talking to them. Be informational, stay in your style, make it fun to read, make it different, but don’t give away your secret sauce. A magician never reveals his secrets. Just give them enough to come back for seconds. 

All in all, just research, learn, discover and most importantly have fun with it!

If you have any questions about copywriting strategy, content ideas or where to get involved in online communities, talk to us! We’d love to hear from you and we’d love to help.

READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team