Categories

Recent Posts

Quick Tip: Posting Consistently to Social Media Does Matter

Posting Consistently to Social Media_featured

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

Over the past 5 years, there have been countless articles regarding the “optimal frequency” for posting on social media. Unfortunately, many of these are flawed and misleading for B2B because they are solely based upon user activity. While this seems great for exposure and impressions, it does little for engagement that generates interest or leads for your business. It still matters when you post, but the focus should be on quality and consistency. Both will compensate for poor timing when you miss those optimal windows for posting.

 

The Magic Formula Doesn’t Exist

Before talking about frequency, we need to remember that what engages audiences matters. Knowing your audience will get more engagement, which leads to more exposure and impressions outside of your network. More clicks, more likes, more engagement equals greater exposure. It’s how the algorithms work.

This all happens organically, so you don’t need to “boost” those posts if you’re doing it right. So, focusing on what people want to see should be your main goal. There’s no magic formula for this. Some say social media should entertain. Others believe educating works better. A mix of both is always a good plan.

 

Consistency Matters – Not Frequency

Complex algorithms decide what the viewers should see. Not necessarily what they want to see, but it’s really close. Because of this, active profiles get more attention. When you think about it, it’s a way of rewarding the content generators for the platform. Without those posts, it would be boring. Posting during windows of opportunity will make you a regular feature in your clients’ news feeds. Being consistent means sending out the right message at the right time.

Posting too much actually has a negative effect on your audience. High frequency overwhelms the audience, causing disengagement and apathy. Here is a list of how frequent B2B companies should post:

  • Facebook = 1 per day
  • LinkedIn = 1 per day
  • Instagram = 1 or 2 times per day
  • Twitter = 3 to 5 times per day

There’s the frequency. Twitter’s tweets have a short lifespan, which requires frequent posts to get noticed. Now, let’s look at when you should post.

  • Facebook: The best time to post is 9 a.m. Or, you can also post between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. (based on EST). Why? Because your clients have Facebook open while working and will check it frequently throughout the day. To dig deeper into your audience’s unique footprint, look on your company’s Facebook page under Insights > Posts to see a graph of “When Your Fans Are Online.”
  • LinkedIn: Between 10 a.m. and noon. The best day to post is Wednesday.
  • Instagram: During lunch and at the end of the day, so around noon and 5 p.m.
  • Twitter: Spread your tweets out throughout the day, starting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. At a minimum, that’s every 4 hours. For maximum effect, you should post 5 tweets every two hours.

 

Adapting to a Changing Environment

Social media is always changing the way users get and see content. Plus, newer platforms, such as Tik Tok or Caffeine, provide innovative ways for users to consume content. Fortunately, social platforms haven’t changed much for B2B industries, but there have been some significant changes in the way people want to get their content.

Currently, video leads the pack because it’s easy to use, and you don’t have to watch the video to get the content you need. Anyone could listen to a video and get the same message. Video should definitely be part of your mix for content. Just remember that it has to be either entertaining or educational to attract attention.

We’ve noticed a trend in written content – people love bulleted lists, especially those with action items. Try to incorporate some lists into your content calendar to capture some attention. This content itself is usually helpful in work or life. Articles like “10 Productivity Hacks” or “Preparing for a Video Interview” contain a collection of actionable items that readers can follow to make their lives easier. Who doesn’t love time saving or insider tips?

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their social media and video production needs. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the content you envision.

Video Tells a Meaningful B2B Company Story

video tells a meaningful story_featured

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

People prefer watching a video to reading text on a screen. We process visual images faster than text—up to 60,000 times faster—and build strong emotional connections through the combination of sight and sound. What this means is that you can tell your company story quickly and in more meaningful ways when you use video.

 

Think about Your Audience

It’s safe to say that a potential client watching a video about your company is interested in your company. They are already aware of your products and services. The purpose of the video is to move them further down the sales funnel. So, when creating your company story, you want to think about common challenges they face and the value you bring.

Too many times, companies make the mistake of focusing on themselves and their services. Not only is this boring, but it also takes the viewer back up the funnel to where they started.

Your audience needs to know what makes you unique. Your services aren’t the only thing that separates you from your competition. Is it your mission? Your company culture? Or both? Video presents stories about your company through creative and original ways that do more than simply capture a viewer’s attention. It motivates them.

 

Bring It Together in a Story

Your audience wants an honest, authentic story, one they can relate to and believe. At this point in their journey, they are looking for someone they can trust. Good storytelling brings all of this information together in a highly engaging and meaningful way. The more emotionally compelling a story is, the more likely your audience will remember it.

 

How to Start

Two emotionally charged stories can start your video. The first being a story about the deeper reasons why your company does what it does. It has to have a strong “human element” to be engaging. Plus, it highlights your mission and purpose. Just remember that it will work only if the story is unique and not profit-driven.

The other one is about helping a client overcome a major challenge. These are highly relatable, which ignite an emotional connection to the challenges they are currently facing. Case studies focusing on particular clients are a great way to showcase this type of story.

What if you’re a start-up? Or, you don’t have compelling stories to tell? Then, you’ll need to be creative and talk about your vision for the future and how you’ll make their lives better. You can personify the problem or create conflict. There are other ways to bring your story to life.

 

Show, Don’t Tell

You have their attention, now what? Video makes your story creative and unique through the combination of images, motion, and sound. The story should come from what your audience wants to know, so stick to the emotions and values you need to communicate. Resist the urge to talk about yourself. Nobody wants to hear a lecture or a cheesy sales pitch.

 

Think about Platform and Pacing

There are many platforms where your video can appear:

  • Website
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Each one requires different pacing. For example, your website can host a longer video, one that goes beyond two minutes. This requires a slow pace to tell a longer story so you can give an in-depth look at your company. Compare this with an Instagram story or LinkedIn video, which average 30 seconds. With these, you have to get to the point right away and make every second count!

 

Video Production Affects Storytelling

The quality of your video will have an impact on your story and the audience. Good stories have unique settings and compelling speakers. Good stories have seamless transitions, high-quality images, sound, and graphics. You probably don’t have a production team on staff that’s experienced enough to pull all of these together. That’s why you should consider hiring a video production company. Remember, your investment in a professional video will drive more traffic to your website, as well as tell an engaging story.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their video production needs. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the video you envision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content Marketing Deconstructed: Legal Considerations at Every Stage of the Process

content-marketing-legal-and-creative-596x300

When a person, brand, or organization creates its own platform to share and influence, a content marketing initiative is born. This practice has been going on long before digital capabilities made it as accessible and mainstream as it is today. It’s also these digital aspects that make it all that more complex for the modern marketer and the companies driving the ecosystem.

  • Who (or what robot) is creating your content?
  • Who is the rightful owner of the content and the intellectual property inside it?
  • Where and how is this content being distributed?
  • Are the laws relevant to the content being followed (or do we even know what those are)?

As a content creator myself, through a variety of media including blogging, video, podcasts, newsletters, and more, I understand the level of detail that can go into each and every project. It’s a big investment of time, talent and treasure, and that’s why it’s worth protecting at every corner.

I’ve seen legal hiccups at virtually every link along this chain, with rising complexities around content ownership and licensing, and emerging risks with more automated content solutions and accountability.

If you break down the process, you’ll find there are various and unique legal issues at each phase that can get in the way of progress. What’s my strategy to beat them? Plan ahead.

Here are three key junctures with reminders to help keep your content marketing campaigns secure:

1. Strategy, Talent & Content Sources

Before the first word is written, or pixel is placed, think about your end goals. In addition to the brand building and sales nurturing aspects, content marketing offers the opportunity of creating intellectual property for your brand, including in both the outputs and processes.

  • Is this something you will own and use in the future, or repurpose for other business opportunities?
  • Are you creating content in-house, using outside partners, freelancers or partners, or possibly integrating external, more automated and AI-driven content services?

You will want to ensure you own the rights to your work, so you have complete freedom in the future for promotions, repurposing and other applications.

For your content strategy and execution, ensure the same levels of agreements are in place for any partners or employees creating content on behalf of your company.

2. Content Development

Beyond the clear copyright rules and plagiarism risks surrounding content creation, there are several less obvious aspects that companies need to watch out for:

  • When featuring any other existing content, first get written permission from whomever owns the content (you would be surprised how often this step is skipped), and then cite proper attribution of any content sourced from, or linked to, from third party resources.
  • Gather and track licenses and use rights for images or artwork incorporated into your content and know the limits of those licenses.
  • When making claims within content, in addition to being true, claims need substantiation. Misleading by omission is just as off-limits as making an express false claim. Ask yourself about the substantiation before you publish the claim.
  • Include all needed trademarks with permission, or with adequate disclaimers if they are the trademarks of some third party.

There are many resources out there for education and reference, including this Skyword article, Original and Accountable: How to Detect Plagiarism, and Avoid It in Content Marketing. What’s key is making sure everyone involved keeps a vigilant eye on this, because your company becomes liable for any infraction.

3. Publishing, Distribution & Promotion

There are various considerations and rules surrounding content of all types that your company is publishing and promoting.

  • Copyright infringement or the use of content without permission or improper attribution.
  • Compliance failures in disclosures of endorsements, testimonials and all things influence marketing.
  • Native advertising or failing to distinguish clearly between paid content placed in a native ad context and the surrounding editorial content. Confused about what that is? Check out Robert Rose’s overview on Content Marketing Institute: What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing, Branded Content, and Native Advertising?

Additionally, email and data privacy rules continue to reign, brought to the spotlight more recently in GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (remember the CAN-SPAM act of 2003?). No one should be using purchased or rented lists for email or relying on the “opt out” at inception as law favors the initial “opt in,” and making sure that “opt outs” are managed properly.

To summarize, wherever your content is going… make sure the destination is legit!

Send the Right Message

With the massive flood of content pouring through digital channels for more than a decade, and more and quicker ways to produce and distribute it, companies continue to seek ways to get their messages through in an overly crowded environment.

Take the time to educate yourself, your employees, and everyone else in your content universe on the legal risks at each step of the content journey, and stay on top of evolving rules and regulations.

Article by Sharon Toerek of Legal + Creative by Toerek Law.

Sharon is an intellectual property and marketing law attorney, with a national Firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.  She devotes her legal practice at Toerek Law to helping creative professionals protect, enforce and monetize their creative assets.

She has a particular concentration of clients in the advertising, marketing and creative services industries, and counsels them on legal issues including copyright and content protection, licensing of creative content, trademark and brand protection matters, marketing agency service contract issues, freelancer contract issues,  social media issues, advertising compliance, and direct marketing regulations. To learn more about Sharon, visit www.legalandcreative.com.

Digital Marketing – What’s Your Strategy?

digital marketing strategy

Marketing has changed a lot over the years and I’ve been fortunate enough to see how it has taken shape. In the past, we used broadcast and print marketing to reach out to consumers and businesses. Back then, we didn’t call it traditional marketing. We just called it marketing.

Today, the digital universe has not only changed the way we reach out to people but it’s also changed what we say. Brand messaging is the biggest change that I’ve seen. It matters to your clients and customers. It also matters to the general public. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the recent public relations nightmares. So, having a strategic plan to deliver your message throughout the digital-verse is just as important as it was in the past.

Digital Resembles Traditional

Digital marketing has some basic concepts in common with traditional marketing. The goal of a traditional marketing campaign was to cover as many bases possible—to capture as much attention while staying within budget. A well-rounded campaign focused on primary and secondary activities.

Primary activities delivered the entire message. These had more space or time for content that gave all the necessary details. Typically, primary activities were print-based and some broadcast media, such as infomercials and infotainment.

Secondary activities were used to keep brand names front-of-mind for consumers. This is a broad category that includes things like billboards and vinyl-wrapped busses. The goal of secondary activities was to complement marketing campaigns through increasing brand recognition.

Digital Marketing: A Comprehensive Mix

Everyone, regardless of age, is now online. The digital world is part our every day lives. Television is on smartphones. Radio stations stream through wireless speakers. Voice-controlled personal assistants sit in our living room and robots roam our houses. Marketers can capitalize on these changes by investigating how new and unique platforms within the digital-verse can deliver their message.

It’s time to be more strategic about your digital presence. You really need to have all things digital in play. Just like traditional methods, we need to have a good mix of primary and secondary sources for people to find your business.

More Than Just a Website – Primary

Websites are no longer digital brochures. Your home page has become your storefront—your front lobby. It’s where potential and repeat customers enter your business. And it has to do so much more than ever before.

Your website has to be a primary source of information. Every visitor should have all of their questions answered before leaving it. If not, they should be able to ask and get a quick response.

Added to this is the fact that your website depends upon two major criteria: search engine optimization (SEO) and mobile responsive design. Without these, your website won’t be as easily found by Google. SEO requires strategic organic search optimization through original content, such as videos, articles and blogs. These need to capture viewers’ attention, be informative, and need to be updated frequently or else Google will send you to the end of the list.

Social Media – Primary

The world of social media is always changing, always in flux, but one thing is for certain, it’s not going away. Your social media presence has to be a primary source of information. It also has to create an emotional connection with your viewers. This is just as true for B2B as it is for B2C marketing.

The bio pages on any social media site can inform your visitors about what you do and where you’re located. Frequent posts with pictures and videos show your business in action. Informative articles, white papers, and video content about your business’ expertise should also be shared frequently on social media. Remain positive in this space. Business social media pages are not a political platform and you will see your audience diminish drastically if you use them in this way. All of these guidelines will also help your efforts with public relations.

Google My Business – Primary

When Google knows more about your business, your visibility will increase. This means more traffic to your site and social channels. That’s what Google My Business does. It puts you on the map, allows online reviews, and provides primary sources of information. Here are some handy statistics about Google My Business:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – Secondary

In some ways, paid search has taken the place of broadcast media’s quick ad spots. But it’s so much different than blasting your message to everyone listening. As a secondary source, it resides in the middle of your sales funnel and provides measurable and trackable data. This leads to increased targeting and more appealing messages.

Paid search is a great way to target new audiences with relevant content. It drives more people to where you want them to go. We regard PPC as an important activity for any digital marketing campaign.

Content – Secondary

Your digital marketing campaign needs flawless content. This ranges from videos to podcasts to blog posts and each one has to differentiate you from everyone else. The best advice we can offer about content is to be authentic and be genuine. Show off your best and people will notice.

Content puts your expertise on display. It shows how your company is unique, and what your company culture is like. Plus, frequent updates of content keep your website active and relevant for search engines.

Link Building – Secondary

Your website really can’t rank well if it doesn’t have link building. This goes even further than someone linking to one of your blog posts. It’s about building partnerships, getting mentions in the press, appearing in videos and on podcasts, and building influencer relationships. Link building should also be part of your public relations strategy.

We Help with the Specifics

A solid digital marketing strategy can improve your visibility, which is a pretty big deal these days. But it also tells the story about your company. Knowing these general concepts is the first step in a bold digital presence. There is so much more to learn about messaging in the digital space, as well as which platforms work best.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with every aspect of their digital marketing. We specialize in discovering our clients’ personal traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and your marketing goals.

Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter

enews_newsSome things never change, even in the fluid online world. One thing that we have always thought important, and will always believe in, is the e-newsletter. A few years ago we wrote the below article – “Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter,” and we still think the information in this article is useful – probably more than ever.

In a market driven by meaningful content, producing an e-newsletter with solid articles that help your customers and prospects is one of the best ways to build the relationships that will foster trust in your brand. There is no question – content is king, and if you position yourself as an expert by creating good content, you will win the trust of clients and prospects.

There are some kinds of businesses that are a part of their customers’ weekly, if not daily routine—grocery stores, drycleaners, and gas stations to name a few. Other companies, such as clothing and hardware stores or even restaurants, also typically attract mostly repeat business. As long as these operations offer competitive prices, good service, and are conveniently located (with no new arrival in the market appearing significantly better on any of those points), customer loyalty should remain fairly strong. But how can businesses instill loyalty when clients may need their services on an annual basis at best, or perhaps only a few times during an entire lifetime? This is the common situation for many professional service providers such as attorneys, CPAs, medical specialists, IT solution providers, or architects to name a few. An e-newsletter may be an economical and effective way to maintain top-of-mind awareness with prospective clients during those long stretches between having a need for the provider’s services.

Simple name recognition is good way to initially differentiate your business from others in your market. But more importantly, an e-newsletter emphasizes the expertise that’s available from professionals at your company.

The greatest challenge associated with producing any e-newsletter – one distributed via email – is getting an audience to read it. And even when a recipient originally made a conscious decision to request the newsletter, it’s not unusual for that person to soon find himself deleting the communication unread, marking it as spam, or taking the final step of asking to removed from the subscription list.

Here are few dos and don’ts that will help maintain reader interest in an e-newsletter from a professional service organization.

Do offer news the reader can use. For instance, attorneys might offer tips as to what to do when starting a business and accountants could point out frequently overlooked tax deductions. Make the articles memorable, pithy and to the point.

Don’t make the publication just another advertisement. In fact, it will enhance the credibility of your e-newsletter if you don’t overtly “sell” anything at all. While articles can address issues that readers may be facing as well as the available solutions, avoid talking about your own company’s specific offerings. Consumers are savvy. If they read about a problem in your newsletter, they’ll assume you have a product or service to meet their needs.

Do make it plain that you’re local. People are more open to information that comes from a “neighbor.” Work references to area landmarks or events into the various articles. As silly as it may seem, people enjoying saying to themselves, “I know where that is.” Referring to local places and events will make your business seem less abstract to potential customers.

Don’t pontificate. A “message” from the company president or CEO is generally bad enough as a reader turn-off, but it may be forgivable if that message offers the “news you can use” component mentioned earlier. Observations about the state of the union, environmental policy, what’s wrong with kids today, or any other topic outside of the author’s professional expertise however, is a definite no-no.

Do keep it brief. While you may have articles that link to your Web site for more additional (non sales) information, the amount of content visible at first glance, should not take up much more room than one screen length. The format should also make it easy for the reader to scan for topics of interest, and quickly glean the facts.

Don’t overload your readers. Make sure the people to whom you send your newsletter have a reasonable chance of being interested in the information you’re providing. And your total number of broadcast communications (the e-newsletter plus any other announcements, alerts, sales promotions, etc.) should appear in their inboxes no more frequently than twice a month. Once a month or once every three months is probably often enough for your newsletter to make an impact without becoming an unread annoyance.

Do encourage reader interactivity. Solicit and make it easy for your audience to provide feedback about your newsletter. Not only is this good PR but their ideas could very well have great merit and can enhance your publication. Also make it easy for audience members to introduce people they know to your newsletter. And finally, make it easy for readers to unsubscribe if they wish to do so.

Do create a series of articles for your newsletter either with a fun or business theme. For example, this year we are running a series of articles with tips for best practices in SEO, and last year we ran a series with the overarching theme relating Wonder Woman (our President’s favorite comic character) to marketing. We’ve seen great enthusiasm for the fun themes so we decided to keep it going with a Zodiac Marketing series this year. We expect that people will enjoy this series as well! As far as the SEO tips series they contain actionable items that any business person or marketing executive can apply to their routine.

Properly executed and written with your audience’s interests in mind, an e-newsletter can help keep your business in the minds of potential customers for that specific moment when they may need your services. Pinstripe can help create a template as well as content for your e-newsletter – get in touch if you need help with launching yours.