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Ready or Not: Your Marketing Strategy in 2016

Ready or Not: Your Marketing Strategy in 2016

If you have a Facebook account, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of “new year, new me” status updates. No surprise, right? The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time to reflect, re-evaluate, and restart in your personal life. But have you ever applied this fresh start to your company’s goals, projects and strategies? The new year is a great time for looking to the future, especially when it comes to your company’s social media marketing strategy.

Social media changes a little each day. New apps, new algorithms and new features for reaching the right audience change constantly. For the everyday business owner it can be quite overwhelming trying to keep up with current social media trends, considering they have so much else to do.  Nevertheless, if one of your business resolutions is to get your social media under control this year then read on. We’ve outlined actionable steps that will help lay the groundwork for your 2016 social media campaign.

 

Analyze and Evaluate Your Existing Marketing Strategies

When you’re creating a social media marketing plan it’s just as important to look back as it is to look forward. Remembering your successes and your struggles from 2015 will help guide you to create a more successful plan for 2016. You’ll use strategies that worked out well and ditch the unsuccessful ones. Make time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your goals and plans and how actionable they really are. You don’t want to disappoint yourself midway through the year, so create goals that are optimistic while at the same time are realistic.

 

Accumulate curated content (some of which is evergreen!)

In articles past, both Rhonda and I have talked about having a healthy mix of informational pieces, sales copy and fun/engaging content. Informational content should be industry specific, especially if one of your goals this year is to become an informational leader.

Creating written content – blog posts, articles, social media posts, etc. – is incredibly time consuming, which is why curated content should be a critical part of your social media marketing strategy. Not only can you post these items on your pages, but some items can also become a part of your master file of resources.

In the new year, review what current content resources you have while keeping your goals in mind. This could be an industry leader’s blog, white papers, Google News, or any reliable source where you’re gleaning information. Reviewing what you’ve already saved will help create your intended strategy and can also lead you to other content that may be helpful in your overall plan. For example, when I visit Social Media Examiner, a premier social media management blog, I will often bookmark many articles that will either inspire me to write something on the topic or schedule it into my editorial calendar. Having resources bookmarked makes creating content a whole lot easier.

I am always on the lookout for evergreen content. Evergreen content is helpful not only immediately but also in a long term plan. Evergreen articles are not too specific on timing, which means the information dispersed is basically universal and remains true no matter when it is read. I have articles bookmarked from over two years ago that I still click back to from time to time. Non-written evergreen content can be things like quotes, tips or photos

 

Create an editorial calendar!

Every business would benefit from an editorial calendar. These calendars can include all social media postings, campaigns and ongoing projects that need to be worked on.

You’ll first want to start out mapping out the campaigns you typically create every year and how long they’ll last. For example, a Labor Day weekend flash sale or Mother’s Day event. Next, create timelines for each project.  When you’re done all that, you will have a rough idea of the content needed for the year.

Next you want to create a specific editorial calendar. This part is up to you, but we have about 2-3 examples of this that we can pick for each month. The easiest way to do this is print out a blank monthly calendar, then write 2-3 post topics for each day. Depending on the industry you’re in, you can lighten up on the schedule on Saturday and Sunday and post 1-2 times.

This is where the “healthy mix of informational pieces, sales copy and fun/engaging content” comes in. Try not to have too much of one type of content in one day, like all sales Saturday (unless you have a campaign going on!). During this time of planning, you’re going to need to start producing content, along with finding relevant curated content for your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or wherever platforms you use.

Now that your overall year is planned out it’s time to fill the calendar with the related content. You may find that some of your recurring graphic memes, i.e. “Tip Tuesday” or “Quote of the Day” can be created en masse and filed or prescheduled for later use. If you have determined that one blog post each week, or two videos per month, is optimal for your business it would pay to have two or three of them done well in advance.

While we do recommend that you stick to your calendar as closely as possible you should also be flexible because “Things Happen”. Your company will very likely experience some unforeseen news items that will need to be shared in a timely way. You may be featured in the press, win an award or snag a new, impressive client that your audience will want to know about.

 

So much to do; so little time!

If this all sounds like a lot of work doing things you are not accustomed to doing, you’re right. That’s where we come in.

Before our first meeting together we will present you with a detailed proposal. Rhonda and I will research your company and your top competitors. We’ll see what works for them and what doesn’t, and see if there should be any similarities in your strategy. Once you’re on board, we will create a new custom strategy for your business that includes editorial calendars for four social media platforms, graphics, articles and videos.

If you know your business’ social media marketing presence needs to grow and you don’t have the time, don’t worry! #WeAreHereToHelp. Contact us today at info@contentandcreativity.com or call us at 610.937.5187 to schedule your free consultation.

The Great ReBranding

The Great ReBranding

How do these things happen? All I wanted to do was get new business cards, and the next thing I knew we were getting new head shots. Then the process somehow morphed into a complete redesign of our company’s corporate image.

Designing Women

We are the kind of people who will redesign a room on a whim. A colorful new pillow will result in completely new paint adventure, which we do so often that I am always fearful that the walls will collapse under the weight of each new coat. And that’s just our winter activities. In the spring and summer I become the Queen of Transplants, reconfiguring every single section of the garden for a totally new look. So I was not in the least surprised when Sara decided that we needed a new logo after only one year in business. Not surprised, but instantly terrified.

Combine two creative people, each with their unique style and perspective – not to mention generational differences – and you have the recipe for disaster. Well, perhaps that’s stretching the point, but getting the two of us on the same page insofar as our new logo design was not pretty. I had to put my foot down when Sara suggested we change the name of the company. Us old folks can only take so much change before our heads explode.

Thank God for Photoshop!

If you grew up playing with Mr. Potato Head, as I did, you know how much fun it is to work with Photoshop. We started with a couple of constraints – the name of the company plus the desire to keep “Creativity” as a multi-colored word. We were able to switch the “+” to an “&”, since the URL has to have “and” in it. The ampersand is tinted and behind the words to create a watermark effect.

Choosing the much-beloved (by me) American Typewriter font for “Content” was practically a no-brainer. It replicates an old typewriter style and perfectly represents the writing aspects of what we do. But while we agreed that “creativity” should be a script font, we couldn’t decide on the one we should use. I Mr. Potato Headed our logo with about 25 different scripts and took three Advil (twice!). Two weeks later we settled on a font named “Channel”.

Funneling Sales

Up until now our the services we offered only consisted of long-term social media management on a monthly retainer basis and limited time consulting for businesses who wanted to do it on their own but needed help getting started. We realized that this involved sizable commitments of time and money for many companies, as well as us. And for us, a company with a good, albeit short, track record, this still involved a lot of time selling ourselves.

Our solution is to develop a menu of additional services that are smaller and finite. This is what the information marketers call a “sales funnel”. You draw people into your community by giving them something very inexpensive or free, offer more services at a higher cost, and finally selling them on your main product is easier because you have established trust and already delivered good value.

Stay tuned for the introduction of these individual products that include short explainer videos, video extras, SEO and reputation management.

The Nightmare to Come

You might be thinking that with our fresh, new logo and updated business cards on the way that we can claim “Mission Accomplished.” You would be wrong. The next step it to totally revise our website design and copy, a task that has me terrified.

Not only that, but Sara just picked out a new rug for the family room and is looking at paint samples. I am going to need something much stronger than Advil!