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4 Content Marketing Trends for Digital Marketers

If you are a company who has made a sound investment in content marketing you are likely among a number of B2B marketers who are working to make their content marketing strategies more effective this year than the previous one.  For those who are still in the research phase, content marketing could be a big winning for your company if you put together the right strategy and execution.

When planning out a content marketing campaign there are a number of factors you may want to consider.  In fact, the Content Marketing Institute published a report outlining content marketing factors that attributed to an organization’s overall success that you should checkout.  Of course, before you can do the same you will need to define exactly what a successful campaign looks like.

Content Format

I’ll be the first to admit that when I think of content marketing I immediately think of written content.  That is not necessarily the case today. Successful brands might look outside the box and take a broader media approach.  In today’s market there are opportunities to contribute with video, graphics and illustrations, podcasts, media buying, webinars, events, and within social media.  To do this means that you will need a team who can produce compelling content, promote that content and reach influencers within your target demographic.

The Internet of Things is Taking Over

Not to complicate matters, but in today’s changing landscape a term referred to as “The Internet of Things” has been gaining popularity. Unlike campaigns we ran 5 or 10 years ago, your audience isn’t limited to media on a screen anymore. With technologies such as Google Voice, Siri, and Alexa, content can be delivered hands free and might not ever be seen. You talk and your device delivers. With voice search becoming more prevalent, marketers may need to rethink how they strategize their SEO, PPC, and of course content marketing campaigns.

Offer Value and Be Real

There is no denying that the internet has become a competitive environment.  In just one minute, this is what gets published.  For those who didn’t click the link, here are some of the numbers.  Keep in mind, this is just one minute.

  • Wikipedia – 600 new page edits
  • Google Conducts 3,607,080 searches
  • Youtube users watch 4,146,600 videos
  • Buzzfeed users view 50,925.92 videos
  • Instagram users post 46,740 photos
  • American use 2.657,700 GB of internet data

If you want to be memorable and develop a loyal following amongst all that commotion, it may be a good idea to offer consistent value in everything you do.  Find ways to help people solve their problems, offer good advice, and from time to time, consider doing something to help out the community you serve. This long term strategy, along with other digital marketing methods, can help your brand build trust within your digital community.

Author Bio

Chris Foerster is a technology junkie and digital marketer who currently manages the digital marketing school promotion at Fremont College.  With more than a decade of experience marketing businesses online, Chris brings a unique skill set of SEO, PPC, social media, lead nurturing, and content marketing to the college’s website Fremont.edu.  We are proud to support Chris, and to share his knowledge with our audience.

Stand Out With Instagram

Visuals are a huge part of being successful on social media, whether it is photos or videos, your customers want to SEE what you are up to. Not read about it. While Facebook remains the number one social media platform for businesses, Instagram is rising as a visual star. Instagram allows you to share one image, multiple images, and videos, plus you can get creative with Instagram Stories. Creativity is key in order to get noticed. Here is a couple tips on how you can stand out on Instagram. 

  • Leave a positive first impression. 
    • Profile Image: keep it simple, it is a small portion of your profile. Your logo is a great option.
    • Username: you want your followers to know it’s you. Use your company name, or a simplified version if it is long.
    • Bio: describe who you are and what you offer. Include your website.
    • Contact Info: include an email, phone number, and address so people know how to reach you or find you.

  • Rock your feed.
    • Leverage natural light in photos/videos.
    • Diversify your content. Let your followers see your business, your products, and YOU! 
    • Use different formats. Like we mentioned before, Instagram allows you to share a variety of formats including photos and videos. Make it fresh.
    • Keep your filters and styles consistent. If you like bright colors, show it. If you prefer the X-Pro II filter because it darkens the background, use it. Just keep it synonymous.

  • Develop your content 
    • Don’t neglect captions. While people are focused on the photo/video, they will look to the caption for context. 
    • Utilize hashtags. People can search based on hashtags, if you want to be noticed, use a variety that relate to your business. Use 3-6 for each post. 
    • Mark your location. Instagram’s geotag feature lets your followers know where you are, whether it is at your business location or out in the community.
    • Share on other social media platforms. Instagram allows you to connect to Facebook and Twitter for a universal post across your platforms.

  • Get Creative with Instagram Stories 
    • Instagram Stories are photos/videos that disappear after 24 hours. Add text, polls, locations, tags, hashtags, gifs, emojis..the list goes on. 
    • Learn how to use the Boomerang, Live, Focus, Superzoom, and Rewind features to make your content stand out. 
    • Save stories as a highlight. People will be able to see that Instagram Story every time they visit your profile. 
    • Don’t rely on sound. Although video is becoming a huge avenue for social media marketing, many people still watch with the sound off. Find ways to get your message across in case your followers prefer to watch in silence.

If you have never explored Instagram, a lot of these words may sound like a foreign language. No worries, we are here to help! If you have questions about starting your Instagram presence or building it up, contact us at 757-504-2429 for a strategy or training.

Employee Communication through Facebook Groups

Keeping your employees up to date on all the major details of your business can be harder than you think. As your business grows, your network of employees grows right along with it. With so many different jobs to do, it can be hard to stay on track. Get everyone on the same page by creating a private Facebook Group just for your business and your employees. 

First off, it’s FREE. We love free! Facebook Groups do not cost you anything and they can be set up in minutes. Create the closed group and add all of your employees. The best part? They do not have to be friends with each other, so each employee can retain their privacy from coworkers.

Second, with over 1 billion users, it’s almost a guarantee that all of your employees will already be using the site. Since they are already looking through their News Feeds, it makes sense to put your messages where they are guaranteed to see it. BONUS. They also already know how to use it. There is no need to train employees on new communication apps or spending time and money to develop an in-house communication system.

Here are some extra benefits!

Facebook will send push notifications to members of the group when someone posts. Any new updates will go directly to the app on your employees phone or desktop. It is almost guaranteed they will see your information by the end of the day. Keep them informed on specials, events, and processes used in your operations.

There is also great opportunity to share visual content. Whether you have some great new staff photos or a video explaining a new process, you can quickly share it in the group for all of your employees to engage. Your Facebook Group will allow you to foster collaboration. Ask for opinions, ideas, and suggestions to collect feedback and get in touch with everyone all at once. Treating your staff to lunch? Ask their preference. Looking for new sales to offer customers? Collect ideas from the ones on the front-line. It is as easy as 1..2..3.

The great thing is, it’s really easy to manage!. Quickly add or remove members and monitor day-to-day interactions. Nothing beats a knowledgeable staff that is in-tune with what’s going on in your business.

Developing the Healthcare Industry through Facebook

As marketers, we know Facebook is a major platform for advertising that is focused on developing brand awareness and interacting directly with consumers. But there is more to it for businesses that fall outside of retail, food-service, and home-improvement service sectors. Just like these businesses, those in healthcare can use the digital space to acquire customers and build relationships with their customers.

Currently, healthcare organizations use social media tools to increase patient loyalty, educate potential consumers, and communicate news and other information to the public audience. Sharing health and wellness tips is the largest common theme among social media pages for hospitals, followed by recognizing special days and employees. Considering that healthcare is an industry that is extremely personalized, creating valuable content means connecting with the audience. Facebook is looking to advance the healthcare initiative by selling healthcare-specific data to providers to assist in the creation of ads.

The company’s current business model sells user specific information for targeted ads, allowing businesses to gain more customers and consumers to find the products/services they need or want. It is projected that this business model will extend to healthcare providers and insurers so that they may serve consumers targeted ads based on their health and wellness. For example, say you are a fertility clinic, you would buy data from Facebook that includes information on people seeking fertility treatments. You then create an ad promoting your services to get in front of that consumer. Ideally, that consumer turns into a new patient for your clinic.

By entering into this new market of healthcare advertising and data analytics, Facebook is competing with existing healthcare data companies that receive patient data from pharmacies and other healthcare providers. The difference is that Facebook already has a large set of data along with an advanced advertising infrastructure, making their goals of acquiring customers and building relationships with a synthesized process.

Cross Promotion Is The Key

As we all know contests are great for social media. They are the perfect way to get more page likes, post interactions, and reviews. But to really see the biggest bang for your buck, put your contest on steroids by joining forces with strategic partners and rolling out a cross promotional contest!

People these days are extremely busy, so incentivizing them to take action always increases the likelihood that they will participate. When you are thinking about a prize for your social media contest, think about your target audience and what would be beneficial to them, not just to you. Then, look local.

Cross promoting means teaming up with another business, that shares your target audience and typically has a robust social media presence of their own, to promote a contest to both of your audiences.

Here’s how it works!

First, find a business that serves the same target audience as you. Be sure to lean towards businesses that have a strong social media presence, then reach out to them and introduce yourself and your business. Ask them if they would be willing to help you promote your contest/prize if you bought it from them. Since the business owner is probably just as busy as you are, try to think of ways you can take some of the work for your contest off of their plate. For example, craft the post you want them to share, or create a graphic they can put in their newsletter. Anything you can do to take the workload off of them will increase your chances of getting their buy-in.

Check out this killer example of a recent campaign we helped two businesses cross promote. 

One of our favorite clients, Jack’s Tile and Carpet, wanted to promote their “pet friendly” flooring options to the Hampton Roads area. We immediately thought of our good friends at Critter Sitters & More, who share the same target audience, pet owners. After making the introduction, Critter Sitters & More put together a beautiful “Pet Basket” full of goodies and necessities for a cat or dog owner. Jack’s bought the basket from them and began their social media contest. Once details on the contest were posted to Jack’s Facebook page, Critter Sitters joined in and shared the post to their own page, added it to their newsletter, and even wrote a blog about it. The partnership was a win for both businesses, as Jack’s benefited from the social media engagement on both pages, and Critter Sitters was also being promoted as the top pet sitter in the area and showing off some of their awesome stuff.

If you’re interested in brainstorming some killer cross promotional campaigns of your own, reach out to us. We’d love to help!

 

Do We Really Need A Business Facebook Page?

As we all know Facebook has a huge following, but do you know just HOW huge? Facebook has nearly 1.6 billion active users, so it’s pretty dang likely that your target audience is on there too. Because of the number of people using the platform, and to ensure a good user experience, Facebook created an algorithm to help users regularly see the posts that they find most engaging.

The fact is, each person on Facebook is susceptible to over 1500 status posts in their newsfeed every day, but realistically none of us have the time to see all of those, and Facebook knows that. This is why they created the algorithm, which chooses the top posts to find their way into your actual newsfeed.

Here is how it works.

The key is post engagement. The more someone engages with your posts (meaning reacting to, commenting on, or sharing them), the more your posts will then show up in that persons newsfeed.

Why does this matter to you as a business owner? Because you spend time and money posting content that you want to get in front of your audience, and if engagement is low, you could be posting content that isn’t actually being seen by your followers. And don’t be fooled by high numbers of page likes, just because they “Like” your page, does not mean that your posts are making it into their newsfeed.

To do this, you have to maintain high levels of engagement with the people you want to stay in front of. The goal of a business Facebook page is to create content that encourages users to engage regularly with the posts. That is why when you are creating a Facebook contest you want to be sure you have the users “Like and Comment” on the post to qualify to enter. This increased engagement will help the posts you spend time creating, be more likely to show up in their newsfeed when you need them to.

Maintaining regular engagement with your audience, even through content unrelated to your business (or even industry) at all times, means that when you are posting specials or business announcements your followers are sure to see them too!

 

Don’t Sleep on SEO

Many business owners and marketing directors have an overwhelming understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They have a constant desire to learn more and more about Google algorithm updates and the latest tools….. said no-one ever.

Hold on. At this point, some of you might be thinking; What the heck is Search Engine Optimization?” If this is you, take a moment, hold out your hand, and then slap it moderately, but firmly. This is something you should already know about, but better later than never. SEO is the skill of increasing a web-page’s rankings for relevant search terms. Basically, if you’re a baker, you want your web-page to show up when someone searches “bakery near me” or something similar. SEO is what makes that possible. The more relevant your website is, and the more aligned it is with Google’s algorithm, the higher you rank in someone’s search results.

While search engines are by far the most common outlet for people to find products, services, or information, SEO is still something that is greatly neglected by businesses. Google processes over 40,000 search requests every second, and over 3.5 billion each day. Needless to say, they are keeping busy. With so many searches being performed, how can any business NOT be focusing on where they rank in Google searches? If you aren’t focusing on SEO then you’re missing out on a TON of business.

Below are the common objections we hear from people who aren’t focusing on SEO right now. Which one is you?

It’s Too Expensive

SEO isn’t cheap, i’ll give you that. It’s a skill that takes a lot of work and constant studying since the algorithm that determines the results changes nearly every month. As you can see in this article from Search Engine Watch, SEO retainers can cost anywhere from $750 – $5,000 a month. If you are considered a small business going after a local market, you can expect to be on the lower half of that scale.

If you’re holding out for someone to do your SEO for cheap then you’re going to get some unpleasant results. SEOs that charge suspiciously low fees are almost guaranteed to be using unethical tactics that will result in a penalty by Google. The cost of maintaining a proper SEO campaign with an experienced firm or individual will return your investment ten-fold.

I Don’t Understand It

That’s okay! I don’t understand exactly how my flatscreen TV works, but you can rest assured that I will be watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones when I get home tonight. You don’t have to understand how something works to benefit from it, you just need to understand the rewards.

With that being said, it is always a good idea to at least know the basics of the outlets your marketing dollars are being used for. We encourage all of our clients to learn as much as they are comfortable about the services they are receiving, and even offer training sessions to be sure they are in the loop with what we are doing and the strategies behind it all. If you’d like to learn more, Moz provides a great article on the basics of SEO here.

The Last Person Who Did My SEO Sucked 

Hey, I get it. You had a bad experience with someone, and now you’re skeptical. That’s totally understandable. Last year, I got a haircut and the lady did a hack job on my head that made it look like I stopped halfway through my own Britney Spears meltdown of 2007. But did I swear off getting my hair cut again? Absolutely not. I found someone else who had more experience and got it done right. That’s exactly what you need to do.

The right SEO will ask a lot of questions about your business and goals. They will need to if they want to provide the best results. They won’t promise you quick results because they know there is no “secret sauce” to getting to the top, but only organic efforts that result in natural growth. At Proximo Marketing, we do a deep dive into our client’s goals, form a comprehensive strategy, and are very forward with our clients about our expectations and goals for our campaigns. What you don’t want is someone that just tells you what you want to hear. You can learn more about what to look for in an SEO firm here.

It Takes Too Long

It does take time. People like instant results and can get impatient when they are paying for something they aren’t seeing the benefit of. Just expect the results to start showing somewhere between 3-6 months after starting. You can learn more about how long SEO results should take here. It’s something that you want done correctly and within the search engine’s rules. The people who promise instant results are tricking the search engines in some way and you will be penalized harshly in the long run. Slow and steady wins the race.

Those are the main objections, but of course there are more. Investing in SEO is something that may be new to you, but future you will be giving you a high five for taking the leap. It’s 2017 and all of your competitors are focusing on it and reaping the rewards of business that could be yours, so it’s time to jump on the bandwagon and get it done better.

 

 

From a Millennial to You, Take the Risk

When people say words like new or change, Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers will run the other way. New is scary, new means risk, new means “oh hell no”. For Millennials, new, change, and risk mean “let’s do this!” Growing up with continuous developments in the technology world and in the way we communicate, we have become adept to change. We are open to taking risks because we have the ability to bounce back and try something else when we encounter failure. Change is not overwhelming or scary, it is embraced with positivity and optimism. So, it’s your turn to take a risk on us, because of who we are:

We are purpose driven

We want to be part of something bigger, share your goals and vision with us. Allow us to buy-in to what you are planning so we feel a part of something. Over 90% of millennials want to be leaders so allow us to grow and move up the ladder, we are fast-paced individuals who can achieve a lot in a little bit of time. Studies show that millennials are rewiring their brains because of how rapidly we complete tasks. Do not think we cannot handle what is next.

We hate structure

The traditional 9-5 job is not for us, just because that is how it has always been done does not mean that is how we want to do it. We understand boundaries and accept them, but communicate with us why they exist. The standard “because I said so” or “because that’s how it’s always been” is not something we are going to buy into. Studies show 87% of millennials like being on their own schedule and 92% want to work remotely at some point in their career. Remember, we have that fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle.

We have new ideas

Annual feedback or annual performance reviews should drop the annual. We want to give you feedback a lot more often than you think. Find ways to collect our feedback on a regular basis, we want to stay up-to-date on our successes and areas of improvement. Also, encourage our ideas. 30% of millennials say that doing meaningful work is more important than most things in the workplace; if we are taking our time to come up with ideas to help your company rise, usually we care about the work the company does or that we do. So, take the time to encourage new ideas, really think about them, and offer constructive criticism.

We are growing

By 2020 millennials will make up 50% of the workforce, 75% in the next decade. We are the most educated, diverse, tech-savvy generation. We want to learn and grow with you. We are millennials and we are not going anywhere.

Video Marketing: Facts You Need To Know

The first video to go viral was in 1995.

Since then, video has grown as a marketing medium that consistently produces results for steadily growing companies. Video services developed in the mid-2000’s and have continued to rise to the challenges of new demands. For example, Facebook launched in 2007 and was video-capable. In 2016, they launched their live video feature for social media users to see what is happening in-the-now. Marketers have caught onto this growing sensation and are now using videos as a major form of marketing. In fact, 96% of marketers invested in video marketing in 2016. In the next 3 years, video ad spending in the U.S. is expected to increase by 111%. Check out this infographic from websitebuilder.com for more information on video marketing and how it is impacting society today!

 

Secrets of Facebook Reactions

Showing a little love goes a little further than before.

In February 2016, the social networking site launched its emoji reaction feature, as an alternative to the iconic “like” button. Users can now choose from “Like”, “Love”, “Sad”, “Angry”, and “Wow” reactions. But for businesses, this means more than just cute face below their posts. Because of the algorithm changes in February 2017, these reactions will now be weighted heavier. Posts that receive reactions will be displayed higher on follower’s newsfeeds than one’s with only a “like”.

After just 1 year, the feature was used more than 300 billion times. Facebook has clearly found its inner sap, because the heart “Love” is the most popular, accounting for more than half of the reactions used. But to use the feature, users have to hold the like button, or hover over it, to reveal and choose the icons.


The extra second to react assumes an investment and interest in the post. The Facebook algorithm then prioritizes these posts over those with only “likes” or no engagement.

As of now, all reactions are weighted the same regardless of the emotion chosen, so “angry” and “love” will equally affect the ranking of the post. But different weights will be coming soon, putting “Love” and “Wow” above the “like” feature, and hiding posts with greater numbers of “Angry” and “Sad” reactions.

The reactions were also recently added to comments. With the same options as a posts, users can show their reactions to individual comments under posts. This will also weigh into the algorithm, and be an additional boost to posts visibility.

For business pages and advertisers, this means carefully tailoring content to the audience, and vesting in information that will receive more positive reactions. With the reaction feature, marketers can also interpret more valuable insights, and change the content based on the emotional responses to posts.

Overall, the goal of businesses? To get their followers to share the “Love”!