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Schmoozapalooza Spring 2019 Drone Giveaway Winner!

CHECK OUT THE VIDEO TO SEE WHO WON OUR DRONE GIVEAWAY!

CONGRATS TO MORGAN SHELEY, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT TROJAN LABOR! 

We had an awesome time at the Knoxville Chamber’s Spring Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk on March 12! More than 700 local businesspeople came to the Knoxville Expo Center to hang out with more than 100 exhibiting businesses – including us!

Thanks so much to everyone who came by our booth to chat! We had a great time catching up with old friends, making new ones and learning about other businesses in our community. We were also conveniently placed right across from one of our incredible clients – 3to99! Check out this company overview video we did for them:

 

We always have a great time with our friends at the Knoxville Chamber. They put on a ton of great networking and professional development events for local business professionals. We’ve really enjoyed producing some event and overview videos for them. Check this one out: 

 

Want to make some videos like these with us? Give us a shout!

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Big Slate Media Team
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A Year in the Making: Update from Jonathan

I’m a little late to publish this, but I wanted to share a little bit about the past year for us. As many of you know, 2018 was an incredible year of growth for Big Slate Media. As a young company, we started off the year crawling (ya know, like a baby) and now, we’ve learned to run – full sprint!

Brimstone Paragon 2018

When I originally purchased the company in 2017, we were a digital marketing company doing exactly what you’d expect: websites, SEO, AdWords and of course, video. That’s what we branded ourselves as, and that’s what our clients expected from us… or so we thought.

Within the first quarter of 2018, just about all of that changed. In taking a hard look at the market and listening to the needs of our clients, one thing was clear. Content is the missing piece for almost every marketing plan.

There are plenty of talented strategists, PR companies, and visionary marketers out there (especially in Knoxville), but who’s doing the dirty work? Who’s making the content they are strategizing? We were. We just didn’t know it.

After looking at our books and list of projects, it was clear. We are a content creation agency. The first and only one in Knoxville as far as I know. Over 80% of our business was video production, copywriting, and content management. THIS is what our clients need from us. #pivot

Q2-4 were insane. We broke sales records month after month, produced beautiful, creative and high-quality content and started relationships with some amazing clients. Saying we’ve been blessed is an understatement.

Having been involved in a dozen or so startups, I’m no stranger to the perils of owning a small business. However, I’ve not been a part of one with this much growth this fast. To keep the ship pointed in the right direction during the rising seas, it took immense dedication from the crew. Lucas and Jess, along with our network of freelancers, have put in early mornings, late nights and busy weekends. Additionally, we’ve all grown in our skill sets greatly by watching after hours YouTube videos, online classes and being mentored by generous sages of the industry. Growing pains are a real thing, but this team has pushed through them with unbelievable perseverance and joy. We could not be where we are today with this incredible team!

In October of 2018, the time came to start looking for an office space and room to grow (beyond my living room). ProMedia had recently sold their building to a friend and I fell in love with their beautiful 2500 square-foot cyc studio near Maryville. This sparked a vision for a collaborative, affordable studio space for content creators of all types. A place for not only photographers but for people to self create for YouTube or other platforms without having to purchase a bunch of gear. A place where they could just come in, and hit record.

After a month of trying to wheel and deal and come up with a way to justify buying a 7500 square-foot building, God made it clear that it just wasn’t what he had planned.

One night, in late November, I had made peace with the fact that the building wasn’t going to happen and that God had something better in mind. Literally, the very next day, I learned the warehouse across the street from our current home office had been bought. After talking with the new owner and hearing the details, it was amazingly clear that this was the next step. So, in December 2018, we began construction on an 1800 square-foot studio and office space. Creating the creator studio I had envisioned and new offices with plenty of room to grow.

During this growth, we discovered a deeper appreciation for Knoxville and the mindset of the creator community here. There’s a feeling of collaboration and optimism here within the production community that just doesn’t exist in a lot of places. To help further this, we decided to bring this community together through starting an organization called KnoxMedia, which recently had its first mixer with more than 70 people in attendance.

Late in 2018, I began meeting with local production companies in hopes to bridge the gap between the one-man freelancer and the area giants like Jupiter Entertainment, North South and of course, Discovery. Many people don’t know that Knoxville is the 5th largest production city in the U.S. By bringing these people together, we strengthen the collective power of the industry in our city and promote the collaborative mindset that sets our city apart.

2018 was an incredible year for us and I can’t thank our team, clients and partners enough for their trust and support. We’re already kicking butt in 2019 and I just know we’re going to continue making incredible content and growing our team.

Yours,

Jonathan Halley, President | Big Slate Media

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Big Slate Media Team
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Measuring YouTube Success: 3 KPIs That Matter

So, you’ve built your YouTube channel, populated it with some organic content, and dove into the world of advertising – so you’ve done it all right? You’re now a YouTube advertising master?

Not quite.

In order to fully understand the quality of your content and how well it engages your audience, it’s important to monitor certain data within YouTube Analytics. This is integral in learning how to best optimize your videos and positioning your efforts for success.

Here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we recommend monitoring:

Watch Time Reports

Use the Watch Time report to see data about impressions, impressions click-through rate, views, and how long viewers watch your content. This is significant as all YouTube algorithms are focused on watch time.
Impressions: How many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube through registered impressions.

Impressions click-through rate (CTR): How often viewers watched a video after seeing a thumbnail.
Views: The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.
Average view duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.
Watch time: The amount of time that a viewer has watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).

Audience Retention Report

You can use the Audience retention report to get an overall measure of how well your video keeps its audience.
Average View Duration: Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected content, date range, region, and other filters.

Average Percentage Viewed: The percent of each video the average viewer watched. Anywhere above 60% is a really good.

Traffic Sources Report

This report shows the sites and YouTube features that viewers use to find your content. It’s great for understanding and evaluating which marketing channels are working for you.


A/B Testing

After reviewing your reports, it may be time to make some adjustments. Don’t try to change too much at first. Work with what you have for a few videos and then, after gathering a decent sample size, make your adjustments by changing some of the these variables.

YouTube does not yet have an A/B testing feature, so you’ll have to use a third party if you really want to dive into this. Also, be sure you’re tracking and linked up with as many analytics tools as you can across all platforms (Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel especially).


We hope this YouTube blog series provided you with enough information and actionable items to start a solid video ad campaign. We know it can feel overwhelming at first, but once you get going, you’ll be thankful for all the hard work you’ve put into it.

As always, if you have any questions about it you can reach out to your friendly, neighborhood content creation agency.

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Big Slate Media Team
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Getting Started: Paid Advertising on YouTube

We’re on a YouTube advertising kick.

In case you haven’t heard – at the beginning of this year we spoke at the Knoxville Chamber’s Digital Marketing Series about YouTube and we’ve been sharing all that content right here on our blog! (If you missed the first two installments, you can click here to see the 8 Things to Get Right on YouTube AND click here to learn all about organic content on the platform).

If you’re ready to take the leap into paid video advertising and make it a regular part of your content marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to driving organic traffic to your content, there are also several paid options for promoting your videos on YouTube to expand your reach. We’re covering all of them right here.

Begin with the End in Mind

Your advertising goal is the foundation of your entire campaign, and it affects the types of video ads and bidding strategies available to you. So, before setting up your video campaign in Google Ads, consider what you want to get out of it:

Leads: Generate customer leads and conversions with video ad formats designed to encourage people to express interest and take action
Website Traffic: Bring interested people to your site and get more conversions with a compelling call to action and other features that encourage people to take action after your video plays
Product + Brand Consideration: Get more people to consider your products or brand with video ad formats designed to encourage engagement.
Brand Awareness + Reach: Increase awareness for your products or brand with video ad formats designed to get more views and expand your reach

The Five Ads Types

Keep in mind – there are other ad types that can be placed on Youtube (like graphic ads); however, we’re going to focus on the video ad formats you can utilize. The video ad content is hosted on YouTube and managed through Google Ads.

1. TrueView Discovery Ads

These ads show up on Youtube via the homepage, search results, and related videos based on targeted keywords, chosen audience or placements. The ad consists of a thumbnail image from your video with some text, and it invites people to click to watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page.

2. TrueView In-Stream Ads

TrueView In-Stream ads show up before, during or after other videos on Youtube. They are your most malleable video ad type, and there are three subgroups:

Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads: Only offered to a high percentile of spending users. They are no longer than 15 seconds in the US, and the viewer has to watch it entirely.
Skippable In-Stream Ads: Sometimes called Standard Video ads in Google Ads. Really, you have the most flexibility with this ad type as there is no limit to how long these can be.
Shopping: Allows you to put up to six cards on your skippable TrueView ad to drive consumer action. You must have a Google Merchant Account to be eligible.

In both skippable and non-skippable in-stream video ads, we recommend keeping ads between 60-90 seconds and having your logo or business name show up in the first five seconds.

3. Bumper Ads

These are short six-second ads that are non-skippable. They should be catchy, simple ads that make a viewer want to visit your website. That’s right, you only have six seconds to catch someone’s attention – go watch some Vines (RIP) for inspiration.

4. OutStream Ads

OutStream ads are mobile-only video ads that play on partner websites and within apps. It includes a logo, description (with a CTA), a link to your Youtube video, and a link to your website. These are great for driving traffic to your already existing Youtube account or website.

We recommend only using this ad type when you have a Youtube page that is updated consistently with content, and as for your title – keep it catchy, creative and clear. People may only see it for a moment, so make them stop dead in their scroll.

5. Ad Sequence

This is a pretty impressive ad type because you can actually send a consumer on a step-by-step journey using different Youtube ads. Each step has a distinct goal and can have different bidding strategies. In short, you can use In-Stream, bumper or a variety of both to take a consumer on a trek to purchase.

This will take the most forethought out of any of these ad types.


Yeah, we know that was a lot.

So, we made a chart to help you out!

Keeping all this information in mind, you’re off to the ad races! However, it’s not enough to simply run these campaigns, you’ll want to actively monitor them…

We’ll cover that next in the fourth and final part in our YouTube blog series.

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Big Slate Media Team
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Organic Matters: YouTube Content that Doesn’t Suck

What do you think of when you hear the word “organic?” Healthy? Fresh? How about natural?

That’s exactly what organic content is. Content that people find naturally – without needing a boost from advertising dollars.

If you’re just getting started on YouTube and want to dive into some advertising options, it’s important to first fill your channel with some organic content that supports your brand – and once you’ve done these eight things, your organic content will be a lot easier to find.

As a small business, you may be wondering what types of content people want to see from you… we’re glad you asked.

Customer Testimonials:

Have a happy customer that is willing to share their experience with the world? Have them say it on camera! If a person is considering engaging with your brand or purchasing your product or service, seeing one of your customers raving about you will definitely peak their interest in the best way possible. 

S&S Testimonial

A testimonial for Sword & Shield Enterprise Security that lives on their YouTube channel…and yeah, we made this. Click on it to watch!

Product/Service Demonstration Videos:

Show people how your stuff works – especially if it’s a unique or exciting technique or technology. 

Tutorial Videos:

Beyond just showing people how your stuff works, you can actually teach them how to use it! This is a bit more thorough than a demonstration video. You can also give tutorials on products or software necessary in your particular industry that others may be interested in learning about. This can help promote you as a thought-leader in your industry. 

FCPX Tutorial

FCPX Tutorial

Thought-Leader Interviews:

Is there a shining star in your industry? A person or brand that you admire and want to engage with in a big way? Interview them. Others interested in your line of work will likely be dying to hear from this person, and they’re on YOUR channel! 

Project Reviews/Case Studies:

People love a classic “behind-the-scenes” look. Show potential customers how you’ve helped some of your clients! Once they see your process, they could feel more inclined to work with you. 

YouTube Case Study

YouTube Case Study

Vlogs:

This type of content is quickly growing in popularity. People love to see what others are doing throughout their daily lives. Turn your camera on selfie mode and show people what you’re doing in your office, at a networking event or even on a staff outing! This can really add a personal touch to your brand, and that’s what potential customers want to engage with. 

Event Videos:

Hosting or speaking at a conference? Record the sessions and put them on your YouTube channel! If it’s a particularly hot topic, this could once again position you as a thought-leader in your industry. Also, quick recap videos from events can be used to help promote your future events. 

Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk

Knoxville Chamber’s Schmoozapalooza Boardwalk recap video… yeah, we did this one too. Click on it!

YouTube Live:

Much like Facebook Live, you can go live online from anywhere. This works particularly well at events or for exciting company announcements. 


Hopefully this gives you some awesome ideas for YouTube content you can start creating for your brand. The best thing about these types of videos is that they don’t have to be super produced – but we can totally help with that if you want – you can use your iPhone and simple video editors to make it happen!

[This post is part two in our YouTube blog series. Stay tuned for future posts diving into the crazy fun world of PAID YouTube marketing… coming soon!] READ MORE
Big Slate Media Team
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8 Things to Get Right on Youtube

We’re all trying to be found online. The best way to do that? Optimize your online content for the top search engines – Google and its subsidiary, YouTube. Google determines who can see you and how easy it is to see you, and Youtube is a huge part of that algorithm.

It can feel overwhelming to get started on YouTube. However, once you’ve created your channel and want to start uploading videos, just keep these few things in mind to ensure your videos rank highly on both search engines. 


1. Keywords

Keywords are the foundation of an entire YouTube channel. These are the words you want to be found with. Include them everywhere: the title and description, within your video content, or even in the name of the thumbnail file you upload. Sneak them in wherever you can! Do some research to see what viewers are searching for. We recommend using Trends.Google.com and the Google Ads Keyword Planner, but there are a ton of keyword resources out there!

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Google Ads Keyword Planner

2. Title

Of course, this is what your video is called. You need to keep it clear, compelling and concise – less than 60 characters to ensure it won’t be cut off in search results. Also, be sure to include your most relevant keywords first.

3. Description

This is the copy that drives views and engagement on your videos. Always include relevant keywords and CTAs within the first 100 characters, because after that users will have to click “show more” to see the rest of your description. Something most people overlook is including a transcript of the video in the description; however, this drastically improves the video’s SEO as the video content is typically full of the keywords you want to be found for!

At the end of the video description, you’ll include your default channel description, including links to your social channels, video credits, or video-specific timestamps.

YouTube Title & Description

Title & Description

4. Tags

Highlight your primary keywords in the video tags. Tags associates your video with similar videos, broadening its reach.

5. Closed Captions + Subtitles

Utilizing closed captions and subtitles on your YouTube videos further optimizes your video, as well as helps viewers that may need assistance understanding your content. This is yet another opportunity to include the keywords you want to be associated with. There are several ways to add this significant text to your videos: upload a text transcript or timed subtitle file, allow YouTube to automatically time the subtitles, type the subtitles yourself while watching the video, or hire someone to do it for you!

6. Cards + End Screens

Cards and End Screens take your YouTube content to the next level by providing viewers the chance to really engage with your videos. Video cards are rectangular notifications that appear over videos, and you can include up to five of them. End Screens extend your video 5 – 20 seconds. Utilize both of these to poll viewers, link to external websites, or direct viewers to your YouTube channels or other videos. This allows people to continue engaging with your content beyond the first video they watch.

Cards & End Screen

Cards & End Screen

7. Thumbnails

Along with the title, a video’s thumbnail is what gets people to watch it. It is the small, clickable image that represents the video. A good thumbnail can instantly grab people’s attention and differentiate your brand on a platform clogged with standard thumbnails, so always be sure to upload a custom one rather than the auto-generated ones from YouTube. Thumbnails can affect your search ranking on YouTube, too. Since your video’s click-through rate is one of the most important ranking factors in YouTube’s search algorithm, an eye-catching thumbnail can make a huge difference in ranking high in searches. The YouTube Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. 

Thumbnails

Custom Thumbnails

8. Engagement

Once you’ve uploaded a video on YouTube, you’re not finished there. You need to also actively manage engagement (likes, comments, views, etc.) on your videos. YouTube’s algorithm follows the audience, paying attention to engagement signals such as video likes and comments. It’s important to encourage and nurture these for a higher search ranking.


BSM Team

BSM Team at Knoxville Chamber Digital Marketing Series

Follow this eight-part checklist for all your organic YouTube content, and you’re off to the races! Your videos will be heavily optimized, and more people will likely see them because of it.

We recently spoke at the Knoxville Chamber’s Digital Marketing Series. Our presentation, “Push Play on Growth,” covered all things related to YouTube marketing. We’re going to be taking a ton of that information and turning it into several blog posts, so be sure to stay tuned for more content in this series! If you have any questions related to YouTube content creation or advertising, drop us a note!

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Big Slate Media Team
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5 Free Project Management Tools for Small Teams (a.k.a. What Keeps Us Sane-ish)

As 2018 comes to a close, many of us are writing out New Year’s resolutions to prepare for a strong start to 2019.

Many small businesses have the same resolution – to improve internal processes and project management. Working on a small team, while offering many benefits, provides some challenges when it comes to managing projects. Team members must wear many hats, and it can be hard to keep track of tasks and details.

We have felt those struggles, and as we continue to grow our processes are refined to keep projects running smoothly. That doesn’t come without some help. Here are some of the free project management tools that we use to help keep us on track, and we hope they can help you achieve your goals for the new year!

Slack

courtesy of Slack.com

Contrary to the name, this app is not for SLACK-ers.

Slack is a place for your entire team to collaborate and communicate effectively. The workspace is set up in channels – dedicated places for organized conversations, integrated file sharing, and even video/voice calls. In addition to internal team members, you can share channels with companies and businesses you regularly work with –  clients, vendors, and partners – to bring all the right people into the same *virtual* room. Slack also integrates with over 1,500 apps, including Google Drive and Salesforce, allowing for seamless integration into your current workflow.

Teamwork Projects

courtesy of Teamwork.com

Juggling a ton of projects at once and having trouble keeping everything organized? Teamwork could be a solution for you.

Teamwork Projects has everything you need to track a project from start to finish. You can assign tasks (or sub-tasks) to different team members, track progress and time spent, and organize your all your projects in one dashboard.

Trello

courtesy of Trello.com

If you want a visually-appealing, fun place to manage your projects, say “Hello” to Trello!

Trello’s boards, lists, and cards allow you to organize and prioritize all your projects in a flexible way. You can dive into all the project details by adding comments, attachments, task checklists, and more. One of the coolest features is the ability to click and drag cards from one list to another, so you can move it through a sales funnel or editorial calendar. The possibilities are endless!

Wunderlist

courtesy of Wunderlist.com

Sometimes you just need a little reminder. Wunderlist houses all your necessary “To-Do” lists, both professional and personal.

With Wunderlist, you can organize related lists into folders, set deadlines and reminders, assign to-dos, and even turn actionable emails into tasks by simply forwarding to Wunderlist. This provides a simple way to keep your entire team on track for specific projects or internal deadlines.

G Suite

This may seem like a no-brainer, but Google provides a great, easy platform for project management and collaboration with G Suite

Utilize Google Sheets to create dynamic project plans and allow team members to update their progress. Create shared Google Calendars to keep everyone up to do date with deadlines and reminders. Securely store and manage your project documents on a Team Drive or collaborate on documents including project proposals or reports in Google Docs.

 

Using one or all of these tools could prove a vital addition to any small team in any industry. For us, these tools allow for more creative brainstorming and production time! Let’s collaborate on one of these platforms soon!

Here’s to better project management and continued business growth in 2019!

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Big Slate Media Team
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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

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Big Slate Media Team
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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!

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Big Slate Media Team
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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

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Big Slate Media Team