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  • October 23, 2020

    How to Build a Buyer Persona

    Hello, thanks for dropping by! You’re just in time to help me create a buyer persona for my new company. A buyer persona is an essential part of any marketing strategy. Personas help create categories in which a company can to tailor its messages to. For this business, we’ll have to construct a persona to better understand our target audience and its relationship with the company. Ready?

    What is a Buyer Persona?

    The obvious first step to creating a buyer persona is understanding what it is. A buyer persona is a fictional character you create based on a target market you’d like to message to. The more detailed the persona, the better. Give them a name, demographic details, interests, and behavioral traits. You should understand their goals for using the product or service you offer, what makes them hesitant to buy or use your product or service, and what they have relied on in the past. This should be a fun task. It’s not often you get to create an entire person from thin air.

    Find a Target Audience

    A buyer persona utilizes the data you collect on target audiences. You must find out who you audiences are before you can even begin to construct a persona. This requires data on your existing customers as well as predictions of who your future customers may be. Social media can be a great starting point by analyzing your followers and discovering which users are engaging most with the content. A company’s website is the treasure trove of data.

    Through Google Analytics, you can assess the users that interact with a website and where they’re coming from. Consider things like age, gender, geographical location, languages, income, interests, etc. No detail is too small to include; the information you collect will start to reveal patterns you can capitalize on. For this company, let’s say we’ve found that our largest audience is women 30-45 years old, middle class, and moms among other detail.

    Build a Character

    This is where the fun comes in. You can take all the data you learned about the target audience and compile it into a person’s identity. Given our data we can determine a few things. Since our largest target markets is female, let’s name our character Sally. From our data, we can also determine that Sally is 35, married, and has two kids. She doesn’t work and is in the middle class. As we start to add the bulk of our data, our persona becomes more and more real.

    Once we’ve added the basic information that make up a human being, we can begin to incorporate personality into the persona. For instance, we should start to ask ourselves, “What are Sally’s hobbies?” and, “Is Sally a social person?” Developing Sally’s personality allows you to create a marketing strategy that is finely revised and specific to the details of who she is. Rather than building a buckshot strategy that hopes to encompass every person, personas target the exact person who is likely to buy your product or service.

    Use Character to Craft a Message

    Now that we have created our lovely Sally, it’s time to put her to work. What message should we try and convey to her to make her more interested in our business? Having built her, we understand what motivates her, what her hopes and dreams are, and her everyday life. Now we can develop a message that fits this. Again, the more detail you can put into the persona, the better. Knowing Sally’s likes and dislikes can help create a highly detailed message that addresses the complexity that humans have. Generally, this is how it should go: you ask yourself what Sally is looking for out of your product or why she would need it, and then you make the messaging reflect that.

    This is an easy and fun process. Personas are a great exercise to advance your marketing on any campaign. As always, details are an important thing to remember. The more precise you are in the persona, the easier it becomes to make that perfect marketing strategy.

  • October 7, 2020

    SEO “How-To” Guide

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of those things that may seem too technical and complex for a small business to implement themselves. However, it’s easier than most people think.

    According to Moz, a leading expert on SEO, “It is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” Since we’re talking about search engines and Google has 90% of all searches on the internet, most of the best practices are with Google’s algorithms in mind.

    For the sake of learning, let’s pretend we’re a shoe company. Let’s begin, step by step. Welcome aboard SEO Shoe Company! Congratulations on your first day. Let’s get started!

    Google search bar

    Keywords

    Keywords are the foundation of how all searches are conducted and how your site is found. They are the words and phrases that people use when trying to find online content on a search engine.

    Your goal is to figure which keywords are most popular and most relevant to your business. That way, you can use them to optimize your online content. This will help you rank in the top results for those keyword searches. Finding the keywords can be easy. There are dozens of websites dedicated to identifying keywords that pertain to your business, which also have a high volume of searches. Remember to keep updating your information because the phrases people use and their popularity change over time.

    Here are some of ways you can implement keywords:

    • Use the keyword in the title of the page on your website
    • Use the keyword in the URL (ex. SEOShoeCompany.com/sneakers/blue)
    • Use the keyword, and variations of the keyword, on your site pages and in blog content
    • Link the keyword on one page of your site to another

    Keyword Questions

    Keywords that come in the form of a question are extremely valuable to businesses and their efforts to drive web traffic. Consumers often ask questions and the search engine will search websites to answer that question. If SEO Shoe Company can answer the question, that can bring amazing traffic to our website. Let’s say a consumer searches, “How to clean dirty sneakers?” It may not seem like a big deal for most. However, here at SEO Shoe Company, we know the power of that question. If they’re finding the answer on our site, that increases our brand’s recognition.

    Longtail Keywords

    Next are long tail keywords. These are long, specific phrases that consumers use when they are closer to making a purchase. For instance, someone who searches, “Men’s shoes,” is less likely to buy than someone who searches, “Men’s running shoes, blue, size 10, best prices.”

    Determining what kind of long tail keywords line up with the services and products your business offers can help boost traffic and hopefully sales. After finding these keywords, make sure you implement them naturally into your content. This could be within a heading of a blog, a blog itself, or a description of a product or service. Don’t just add in the longtail keyword, hoping for results. Also, ensure that you use different variations of the keyword to fill the gaps between different searches, so no potential consumers pass through the cracks.

    Keyword Density

    It’s critical to point out keyword density, the number of times the keyword appears. It may seem smart to overload your page and content with keywords, but this would be a critical mistake.

    In the early days of search engines, the content that would rank higher in search would be the pages that had the highest density of the relevant keywords. This became an obvious problem because we could just write, “Shoe, Shoe, Shoe,” over and over again and be the top page in the search results. Safe to say, Google and other search engines have updated their algorithms to prevent that and even penalize pages for breaking the rules.

    Hand holding the golden key

    Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

    Another way to optimize the site for search engines is by understanding how the backend of the website is structured. HTML is the code that makes up the website. Search engines, like Google, send out bots called “crawlers” to collect and catalog information from websites.

    Most think they have no control over the actions of the bot, but Google allows you to direct their crawlers in many ways. Likely, you’ll have pages that you don’t want bots to crawl such as admin pages or “Thank You” pages (displayed after a purchase).You can block the crawlers from looking at irrelevant pages using “robots.txt.” (i.e., SEOShoes.com/robots.txt).

    Here, you’re able to suggest which pages should and shouldn’t be searched, as well as the speed at which to crawl. You might want a crawler to spend more time crawling a page with lots of information as opposed to one with very little. Directing the crawlers helps optimize your “crawl budget,” which is the average number of pages a crawler will visit before leaving.

    HTML code

    Navigation

    Navigation is how easily each page is found and how clear that path is. Crawlers search the site’s pages by going from link to link. Navigation needs to be clear and ordered as to be as efficient as possible, so creating a sitemap is beneficial for you and the crawlers.

    The map helps you organize the site which in turn helps you manage it. You can’t let any important pages get lost through a convoluted strand of links. On the crawler’s side, it gives them a clear illustration of what is important to crawl. Google allows you to build and submit a sitemap here. This is a great tool to use but should not be a substitute for good, organized navigation.

    Indexing

    Lastly, you need to focus on where the pages end up. This is the index. It is where the pages are sorted based of the relevance of the user’s search.  This index is controlled by the search engines. This means when I search, “shoe,” on a search engine, the search engine will pull all the relevant pages from their index. Luckily, you also have influence on how the search engines index your site. Again, a good understanding of HTML helps here.

    Google’s site has lots of valuable SEO information. It has guides that will help you through multiple aspects of SEO, a reference page, updates on what is new to SEO guidelines, case studies, tools that help test your SEO efforts, and a help tab. It is a one-stop-shop for all your SEO needs.

    Hand mapping out navigation on white board

    SEO Shoe Company

    Let’s review what we just learned and see how it can be implemented for SEO Shoe Company. First, we learned that keywords are the foundation of SEO and there’s different types like questions and longtail. We, as a company, must find those keywords, and for us they would be things like, “Women’s heel size 6.5 gold,” or simply, “running shoes.” We can take those keywords and imbed them in our website. Whether it’s on the page title or in content that we’ve created, placing these words into our pages will boost our SEO for those types of searches.

    Next, we must get better about HTML. We should sit down and figure out which of our pages we want indexed and how we want them to be search. At the same time, we should also be thinking about how our website is laid out. It wouldn’t make sense for us to hide the sneaker section within the boots section nor would it make sense to not link the boots section to the home page. We need clear organized pages to ensure the crawlers can access all the material we want them to. We, at SEO Shoe Company, have a lot of work to do, but everything we learned today makes it that much easier to do.

    SEO is a dense subject. Entire books have been written on the best practices and many more will come. No matter how much information there is, it is not as complicated as it looks. It takes times and studying, but every business can and should implement good SEO practices. Where should you start? Try a search engine, we’re sure that can help you find some relevant content based on your keywords.

  • September 29, 2020

    Lessons Learned Series: Recruit and Retain the Best Talent

    This year marks the 30th anniversary of SRB Communications. In honor of this accomplishment, our blog series, Lessons Learned, will highlight five key lessons that founder and CEO, Dr. Sheila Brooks learned during 30 years as an entrepreneur. This week we offer the final piece of advice in this series – Lesson #5, Recruit and Retain the Best Talent. If you missed Lesson #1- Pivot the Business, #2 – Obtaining a Bank Loan, #3 –Writing a Growth Plan, or #4 – Customer First Mindset, click the links.

    You are only as good as the team that supports you. That’s why finding the best talent is imperative to the success of your business. The challenge doesn’t just stop there. Once you’ve found the talent, you need to get them to stay with your company.

    Obviously, the first step is filling a need. Business owners often make the mistake of hiring someone that they don’t really need in a misguided attempt at expansion. Growth in a company doesn’t come from hiring new people. In fact, it’s usually the opposite.

    When a company begins to expand, the opportunity to hire new people reveals itself. That requires you to pay close attention to your business and its needs. If you begin to turn down work because you don’t have enough people or lack people with the right skills, it might be time to hire. It never looks good for your business to appear incapable of handling the work of a client.

    Hiring a new employee can solve many problems in the company, as long as it’s the right fit. No matter the reason you feel you need someone, always ask yourself, “Will this person add value to my company?”

    Now that you have a position to fill, what does the best talent look like? It’s not necessarily the leading experts in the industry. Rather, it’s someone who fits the position but also fits your work culture. In order for a person to fit the position, they need the skills that are required to competently function in the job. This works both ways; just as you wouldn’t want someone under-qualified, you don’t want someone overqualified. It may seem counter-intuitive, but your goal is to retain the talent you find. Someone overqualified for the position may easily become bored and move on quickly in search of something that challenges them. That’s why finding the perfect fit is so important. A person who is equal to the position they take will stay engaged with the work they do and last longer.

    That said, no matter how well they match the position, they must match the work culture. Culture at a company is vital to its survival. Every owner should want an environment for their employees that make them feel good. You might find the best person for the job but if they don’t jell with the rest of the team and ruins the environment for other employees, it’s a bad fit.

    For example, if your current team is very serious and professional, adding a goofy and talkative new employee might not mix well into the culture. The best talent is often very different for each business and each position. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for in an employee allows you to narrow your focus and find the best for you and your business.

    There’s a number of ways you can find talent.

    There’s an app for that. We are fortunate enough to live in a world filled with technology and the phrase, “there’s an app for that,” is not untrue. There are dozens of apps and websites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, and LinkedIn. Most notably, LinkedIn has more than 706 million users. These sites allow you to post jobs, and based on the qualifications you require, it will search there userbase for people matching the description. This ensures that you’re not wasting your time and receive the best talent for your position to review.

    Networking. However, one of the best ways to recruit talent is through your personal connections. When SRB was still in production, I knew where the talent was. I had been a television journalist, but I also had experience in radio and newspapers. So, I was able to rely on those networks I developed to find talent. As a business owner, I make it a point to be active in professional organizations. Throughout the years, I’ve cultivated relationships with all of the national minority media organizations, like the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; industry groups like the American Advertising Federation, ColorComm, the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC), Leadership Greater Washington and various Chambers of Commerce. Networking like this allows me to have insight in the industry as a whole and build connections that may one day may turn into an opportunity for recruitment.

    No matter how good we are at finding talent, getting them to join and stay is a whole other challenge. In a competitive job market, you have to give people work-life balance and allow them the opportunity to grow. You need to provide them with professional development and show them that you believe that there are creative ways that they can advance themselves. Develop unique incentives that help you recruit and retain your talent; an extra week of vacation when you hire them, extra time off, cash bonuses, rewards, birthday parties, etc. You have to show employees that you really care about them because that’s what people are looking for.

    There is a remote culture and a travel culture growing in the professional world, and you have to adapt to those changes. If you understand what drives the talent you seek to recruit, you can craft your business to provide it. Whereas the older generations lived to work; the younger ones work so that they can live. Build a culture for them.

  • July 24, 2020

    Lessons Learned Series: Pivot the Business

    This year marks the 30th anniversary of SRB Communications. In honor of this accomplishment, our blog series, Lessons Learned, will highlight the five most important lessons that Dr. Brooks learned in 30 years of business as the founder, president and CEO. Check in next week for Lesson #2.

    Starting a business is a risky venture for anyone to take. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. The world is a constantly changing place. Many hopeful entrepreneurs don’t prepare themselves or their businesses for the strain that can be placed on them. And no matter how long your company has been in business, you’ll need to know when it’s time to pivot.

    Sorry we're closed signage hanged on glass door

    Pivoting a business is not just adding new service offerings, it’s a systematic change in your business model. That being said, you shouldn’t wait until your business is under severe economic strain to think about how you can pivot your business. Always have your business prepared to shift business models, you never know when you’ll need to make a change.

    Look at what’s happening in the world today. No one could have predicted a global health pandemic would hit and totally devastate the economy. Though the causes are different, we find the world heading towards an identical economic situation as the recession from 2007-2009. That recession hit small businesses very hard. SRB Communications lost 90% of our business, pretty much overnight. The media landscape changed dramatically. We went from producing 90-100 videos a year in our million- dollar production facility to competing with one-man teams with a small camera, iPhones, laptop and at-home editing software. Producing original television programming on a regular basis for network and cable TV was replaced by reality shows.

    As the CEO, I looked at my business, our services, personnel and the media landscape. Though we were a production company, we still had one large advertising contract with Pepco Holdings. I had to make some tough decisions. I could shut down the company after 18 years of business and call it a victory or I could pivot the business from TV production to marketing and advertising, where production of radio and TV commercials are still dominant.

    When I looked at the media landscape and did the market research, what I found was that there was more business to pursue in the energy and utilities industry. And that business was expanding to advertising and marketing work and executing campaigns, e.g. educating customers about utility programs and initiatives. And so that is when I decided that if we could win one (1) utility contract, we should go after every gas, water, and electric company in DC. And we did. And we won. And then we went to Maryland. We won again. Then we started winning utility contracts up the East Coast. After a few years of pursuing and winning contracts in the utilities vertical, we continued to expand our business verticals in advertising and marketing to higher education institutions, government and transportation agencies, political campaigns, convention centers and sports arenas.

    A close up of text on a white background Description automatically generated

    So, for me and for SRB Communications, pivoting the business was about learning that we had to sell what our clients want and need. Too often a business fails because they provide services that their customers are no longer looking for. SRB Communications was a TV production company but the market shifted, so we had to do the same. In sports, there’s a saying, “Be where the ball is going, not where it is.” Look at your market, figure out what your customers need, and if you can have the capabilities, be that. Sell what clients need, not just what you have.

    Business is unforgiving and to survive you have to stay on your toes. Pivoting leads to a business that is flexible enough to surpass those vulnerable years where many fail. Your business is in fact not yours; it belongs to the customers you serve. The customers decide if you succeed or fail, so it’s best that you listen intently to their needs.

  • May 22, 2020

    A Marketer’s Role During COVID-19

    As marketers, we hold a great deal of responsibility during this global pandemic. While healthcare staff, first responders, and other essential workers focus on the physical health and security of citizens, it is the responsibility of marketers to help people cope with our “new normal”. This not only benefits society as a whole, but it will help position your company as a community partner and a brand that your customers can rely on during times of crisis. So, here are 4 things you can do to manage your marketing strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

     

    1. Determine Your Company’s Position in a Pandemic

    If you are a marketer, odds are you are in the middle of managing a number of different campaigns and editorial calendars. A crisis of this magnitude can easily overshadow your promotion and marketing efforts, so you’ll have to determine if it’s fiscally and socially responsible to continue your campaigns. In some cases, you can pivot the campaign to address the crisis and provide content that is beneficial and relevant to your customers. Obviously, every business is unique and will be impacted differently, so there is no exact answer to what should and shouldn’t be suspended. As a rule of thumb, you should determine if your business is uniquely positioned to speak to the pandemic and how you can show up for your customers in the time of crisis. From that point, you can make a better judgement call and decide if you should stay silent or shift your messaging and content offering.

     

    2. Revise Your Content Calendar

    If you do decide to continue your marketing campaigns, it’s imperative you review all scheduled content to determine if it aligns with community health measures and messaging, and then adjust accordingly. The words and images you use, no matter how small, delivers a message to the people who consume it. When designing creative, avoid using pictures with people interacting closely with one another or using language like “get in touch,” or, “come meet the…” as this could be taken as tone-deaf or out of touch messaging during this time. As a marketer, you can help endorse the new normal by incorporating our new social guidelines into your creative and messaging.

    Ultimately, follow the strategy that fits to your company and consumer’s needs best. Reevaluate your content and creative and know that the best strategy may not be selling your products at this time, but rather showing how your company can help people overall.

     

    3. Market Your Beliefs and Values

    In recent years, we have seen consumers become increasingly more aware of societal issues and have expected the businesses they frequent to share their social and environmental values. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses will try to use this as an opportunity to sell their business or product, but cause marketing is not about capitalizing on a global crisis. Cause marketing is about developing and strengthening your relationship with consumers by connecting with them on societal issues that matters to them the most and aligns with your company’s values.

    There are many ways your company can contribute to the effort to curtail this pandemic. Some companies have started to manufacture and donate essential items like ventilators and masks to those who need them the most. Other companies have donated hotel rooms to healthcare workers on the frontline or donated money to hospitals and other organizations fighting COVID-19 cases. These are all great ways to showcase your support and company values and can provide a great opportunity for marketing that helps companies build credibility and trust among its consumers and helps keep them abreast of the efforts you are doing to help end the crisis.

    This brings us to our next point.

     

    4. Build Deeper Connections Through Human Stories

    People are looking for something to be hopeful about. Everyone loves a story that they can get behind, especially stories that are relatable. Let the story be yours. It’s the perfect time to deliver human-driven stories that provide a way for people to connect while stuck at home. Employees are a great resource for developing personable content. Your employees are affected by this crisis just like everybody else. Highlight what they have been doing to stay busy and active during this time. Sharing their story makes your audience view your company as more just a faceless entity, it’s a collection of real people. As their leader, keeping them positive should be a priority too. Show your audience the ways you and your team have stayed connected and upbeat. Also, try to utilize your audience to produce user-generated content and engage in a campaign that is optimistic and engaging. That being said, you have to be aware of your positivity. Blind optimism is a poor mindset to have in a time of crisis. Don’t pretend everything is fine and ignore the issue. No one likes the band playing music on a sinking ship.

     

     

  • May 15, 2020

    How to Market on a Budget

    It’s clear that the economy has been crippled by the recent pandemic and many small businesses are hurting because of it. In order to curtail company spending, leadership often makes large cuts to the marketing budget during hard economic times.

     

    However, this does not mean you can or should stop marketing. In fact, companies that continue their marketing efforts during times of economic crisis have steadied or even increased sales. Take the time to review the budget you do have to ensure you’re using it the most efficient and effective way possible. Here’s a few tactics to help you market on a tighter budget.

     

    Quality Content

    It should come as no surprise to anyone that quality content is important. Marketing revolves around content, so when you’re operating on a small budget, quality is paramount. The content must be useful to the consumer while also being easily digestible. Find out what your audience needs and make sure you are supplying them with valuable information to meet those needs.

     

    Research is an important part of creating quality content. A reader can go anywhere to receive content, so why should they consume yours? Providing sound information backed with research and complemented with your own perspective via anecdotal experiences or exclusive company data adds value to the content and establishes you as a unique source of information. Once you’ve done the research necessary to write or speak intelligently about your content topic, figure out the best way to deliver it to your audience.

     

    With technology advancing faster than we can blink, there are so many mediums to choose from with little to no cost (i.e. infographics, podcasts, videos, blogs, newsletters, live stream, etc.). It’s important to think about your topic and who is your target audience when determining how to deliver the content. Some people are likely to interact with a particular medium more than others. For example, podcasts are generally listened to by a younger audience. 84% are under 55 years old according to Edison Research. If your audience skews towards an older demographic, podcasts may not be the best place to reach them.

     

    Like beauty, the value of your content is in the eye of the beholder. Your audience determines how much value they received from the content and the overall quality of it. If you don’t deliver your content to the right audience, they find no value in it. Choosing the right content for the right audience is about knowing who will receive the most value from it and delivering it to them in the medium that they are looking for.

     

    Social Media

    Social media is a great tool for marketing on a budget. It allows you to create a following of engaged users and distribute your content to new masses. The best thing about social media is the constant development of new platforms and the reach it provides. Whether you’re looking for an older audience on Facebook or a younger one on TikTok, there’s a platform available that is right for your target audience.

     

    There are two ways to reach users on social platforms. One is known as an organic reach. You are directly engaging with consumers without using money to reach them. You should create engaging, quality content that attract users to follow you. More followers mean more reach and hopefully, more engagement.

     

    Engagement with your audience is one of the most valuable resources you have. Interact with them via comments, likes, direct messages, etc. and create personal connections with your followers. They respect the time it takes to do that, and it won’t be forgotten when they discuss your business. People are more likely to trust the recommendation of a real person whether that is on social media or on a blog. A suggestion from a friend about your business goes a long way.

     

    The other way to use reach users is paid promotion. This includes paid or boosted ads on social media. Paying for ads on social media is a good way to stretch your dollars because it’s much cheaper than advertising on broadcast or radio and it allows you to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, etc. more effectively.

     

    As your audience grows, you can utilize their influence more. User-generated content on your social media platforms is a great way to expand your reach. This method basically lets users create and distribute custom content for you cost free. Not to mention, this content can seem more authentic to users than a traditional ad. To do this, you’ll need to create a call-to-action that gets your audience creating meaningful content for your business. Look to other companies for inspiration, but it’s important to make it relevant for your service or product offerings while putting a personal touch on it.

     

    People are always looking for something new and different. Give them a reason to interact with your company. A base of followers is just a long list of potential sales. You can use your profile as another platform for selling while also increasing your brand awareness to a larger audience. The more recognizable your brand becomes, the more trustworthy you become to consumers. People will always buy from the companies they recognize and trust.

     

    SEO is Gold

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your best friend when it comes to low budget marketing. You can do everything above but if you ignore SEO, no one will find your content. So, what is SEO? It is designing your website and content to be relevant and easy for search engines to find. Since Google has more than 90% of the searches on the internet, most of the SEO guidelines are tailored to their methods. Implementing these methods are often very low-cost. Let’s walk through the basics.

     

    Keywords are the “key” to everything (pun intended). Keywords are the words the user will search. For example, if I wanted to find a coffee place to go to, I’d search, “coffee near me.” This is just one combination that someone might use, your job is to account for as many keyword searches as possible, both short and long tail. Think about the keywords people would use to find your company and try to be specific as possible.

     

    The next step is understanding the technical side of SEO. Google has to find your website, search the content on the site/page, and then index it on their own search engine. In order to do this, Google sends out “crawlers” which find and catalog your site. This means you should have relevant content via your keywords for them to catalog. You don’t want the crawlers to bring something to the users that is irrelevant to their search; that’s why a good understanding of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the code used to create that your site, is helpful. Doing the research necessary to master and implement SEO best practices will bring more users to your site and help generate stronger sales leads for your business.

     

    Ultimately, there are so many clever ways to successfully market your business while on a tight budget. Do the research and think outside of the box to stretch your marketing dollars because marketing is important to your business. It’s as important as the business itself.

  • February 17, 2020

    3 Emerging Social Media Platforms Every Brand Should Be Using

    Life moves fast, but technology moves faster. It sometimes seems impossible to keep up with the trends. What’s the latest iPhone? Which virtual reality system is best? Then, of course, there is social media. There are the tried and true media giants like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, however, other companies are constantly competing to be the next big platform. For any business, it’s key to keep track of who the emerging players are and incorporate these platforms in an effective way.

    TikTok
    It seemingly came out of nowhere, but since 2018, TikTok has accumulated around a half billion active monthly users worldwide and is currently rated the #1 free app in the App Store. It is a short-form video platform that evolved from apps like Vine and Musical.ly and lets users edit videos overlaying them with music or dialogue, text, emoticons, special effects, hashtags and/or filters. It is heavily used by and targeted towards Generation Z, people born between 1997 and 2010, as a form of entertainment. It is because of this reason that many companies have joined the platform to try and engage with the younger demographic. Companies like the NBA, Mountain Dew, Chipotle, and even the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have started accounts. TikTok is most attractive because it is not nearly as saturated as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and as a result, is a much cheaper platform to advertise your service or product.

    Caffeine
    Caffeine is a live-streaming service battling for market share against similar streaming platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube. The service lets users create a live broadcast where viewers can, in real-time, interact and comment on the broadcast being hosted. However, unlike other streaming services, Caffeine prides itself on its use of internal moderators and machine learning to prevent inappropriate content from being discovered on its platform. With a heavy push for celebrity content focused on sports, entertainment and pop culture, Caffeine is trying to create curated live-streaming experiences that allow for social discovery through the streams your friends are watching or brand promotions. Caffeine shows great potential for businesses looking to host live Q&A’s, showcase an unveiling, or give a tour of their facilities.

    Lasso by Facebook
    Lasso is a direct competitor of TikTok but with only a fraction of the users. Facebook has seen a large decrease in young users on their site, so Lasso became its method to capture their attention. Lasso allows you to create short videos with filters and music overlaid the same way you’d see on TikTok. Users are able to share their videos with other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Although small, many believe that Lasso stands a good chance of becoming the next big social platform since it is owned by Facebook and has access to its massive resources. It may be almost an exact copy TikTok, but Facebook and its partner companies have a way of surpassing their competition and dominating market share.

     

    So, the next question is how do you use this technology effectively for your business? Adding newer social platforms into your marketing strategy is just another way to expand your reach as a business and acquire new audiences. You can use it in a similar way you would use Facebook and Instagram by tailoring content to the channel and audience. The key to success on any social medium is creating compelling content that elicits an emotional response (i.e. joy, empathy, excitement, anger, etc.) through authentic storytelling. By being an early adopter of these newer platforms, you won’t be competing for attention with millions of other brands and you can create smaller, personalized communities that are more engaged with and loyal to your brand. If it makes sense for your business, it can be a smart and affordable strategy to incorporate emerging social media; you never know when it might pay off.

    If you’re interested in helping to advance your business through the magic of social media marketing, contact us today.

     

     

     

  • February 7, 2020

    The Washington Blade: A Case Study on Multicultural Advertising in LGBTQ Communities

    Challenge:
    Pepco and its parent company, Exelon, have long been leaders in diversity and inclusion programs, but they wanted a stronger presence with DC’s multicultural communities particularly among its LGTBQ customers. As Pepco’s multicultural agency, SRB Communications was uniquely positioned to engage with this diverse group in a compelling and highly targeted way. Our main objective was to build brand awareness of Pepco’s key initiatives as they relate to the underserved populations in the District. However, it was also important to position Pepco executives as inclusive leaders who understand the nuances and experiences of LGBTQ communities it serves.

    The Work:
    To address the objectives, SRB Communications executed a sponsorship on behalf of Pepco with the Washington Blade. The Blade is the oldest LGBT newspaper in the U.S. covering the latest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender news in Washington, DC and the sponsorship coincided with the its 50th anniversary. Through the sponsorship campaign, we were tasked with creative direction for both digital and print advertisements placed with the Blade and content writing for four thought leadership articles highlighting Pepco’s executives who have focused on creating safe and meaningful spaces for the LGBTQ community in the workplace. Our executed media buy and advertising placements with Washington Blade consisted of (8) run-of-site digital ads on the Washington Blade website, (23) full-page ad placements in the Washington Blade print publication, (5) dedicated email blasts which featured the four thought leadership articles and (6) weekly email blasts.

    The Results:

    • The digital ad campaign achieved an overall 298,700 impressions
    • Dedicated e-blasts garnered an impressive 2.21% CTR
    • Print ads were circulated to a readership of 2,100,000

    Overall, we were able to provide a strong, consistent presence within the LGBTQ community that Pepco services throughout the year. But most importantly, the work was meaningful, and we couldn’t be prouder of the impact.