Social Media

Will Vine 2 Kill Tik Tok?

Tik Tok has been all the rage with younger audiences. But now that Vine 2, better known as Byte, has been launched, will Tik Tok survive?

Beside the fact that its developers are calling this new video looping service Byte, a lot of people are still using the name Vine 2. It became known by this name because it is the product of the original vine co-creator Dom Hofmann and because of the video looping of course. The app is now available for free to download on IOS and Android devices.

Vine 2 Finally Released

Like its predecessor, Byte allows users to creatively make looping videos. The main difference is that instead of seven seconds like in Vine, the Byte app uses 6-second videos. It comes with features you’d expect from a social media platform including a content feed, an explore page, and user profiles.

Users can either record videos with the Byte app or upload the videos directly from their devices. This means that videos can be edited using third-party apps before being uploaded to the Byte platform.

A Byte partner program is also planned for the future meaning that users will get paid for generating content. This program may in fact lure content creators away from Tik Tok and other established apps. That platform currently offers no payment for video content.

Another thing that makes Byte different is that it features a community forum that prioritizes communication with creators. Byte gives users the opportunity to gain popularity on the platform and it offers compensation through a monetization program. The community forum and monetization offers are what the Byte creator hopes will differentiate the platform from its competitors including Snapchat and Tik Tok.

Hofman says that Byte is considering a number of monetization options including ad revenue-sharing, tipping, or other options to their partners. It looks like they will be starting with a revenue-share plus supplementing with their own funds. They will have more details about exactly how the pilot program will work soon.

Many creators who found their popularity on apps such a Snapchat and TikTok that do not have direct monetization have tried to pull their audiences over to YouTube where they can earn a steady ad share. By getting started paying early, Byte hopes to lure some of those personalities over to its app and be able to retain them from the long-term. Former Vine Stars turned Tik Tok stars like Chris Melberger, Joshdarnit, and Lance Stewart already have a presence on Byte.

The official community guidelines read, “Byte is dedicated to building tools and communities around the possibility of new experiences that’s why it’s our mission to put creativity first in all that we do. As humans living among other humans in a complicated world, we believe that creative, playful contact with others helps us tap into our collective potential.”

Things to Know

At this time, there is no private account option for Byte so anyone can add anyone else to follow. It is possible to block accounts but you’ll need to monitor who is deciding to follow you. There is no location sharing.  It lacks live video options as well as the disappearing content that made Snapchat famous.

Users cannot direct message to each other, but comments are allowed on Bytes. At this time there are no ads or in-app purchases, but as the app tries to establish their revenue model we could see these appear later.

At this time, Byte lacks remix ability, augmented reality features, transition effects, and other features you would find in apps like Tik Tok and Snapchat.

A Vine Refresher

Hoffman co-founded Vine in June 2012 with Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov. Hoffman actively ran a beta tester forum since the original announcement for Byte was made in early 2018. Twitter acquired Vine prior to its launch in January 2013 after Hoffman left the company.

At the time, Vine was an effective way for small businesses to make an impression on their target audience because it helped them beef up their content. Using Vine, small businesses could respond to customer feedback to provide them with personal interaction. They could also work Vine videos into there larger content strategy making their marketing efforts more effective. By blogging about the day to day function of their organization, small businesses could increase transparency and provide their followers with real insight into what it’s like to be behind the scenes.

In December 2016,  Twitter announced that the vine mobile app would remain operational as a standalone service so that users could publish videos directly to Twitter rather than buying. In January 2017, the vine Community website shut down and Vine became Vine Camera in a name change.

With the release of Byte aka Vine 2, small businesses once again had the opportunity to benefit from the many marketing and Communication features created by the original vine. But, Byte adds the additional benefits of monetization for content along with a user forum. In this sense, Byte may be able to revive the excitement Vine once had and by doing so, it could mark the beginning of the end for Tik Tok.


How to Market to Gen Z Without Social Media

For years, social media has been a critical communication channel. While many marketers believe they’d never see the day, the reality is that social media use is on the decline. Teens and young adults have been on social media since the advent of Facebook, the beginning of Twitter, and the invention of several other channels including Pinterest and Snapchat… so it stands to reason they’d stay there, right? Wrong.

The day has come. Social media usage is down.

What the Numbers Say

Convince & Convert recently analyzed findings from The Social Habit study which is a yearly report from Edison Research and Triton Digital. When you compare data from the 2017 study to data from the 2019 study, the findings are quite shocking.

The study found that Americans aged 12 to 34 have changed the way they’re using social media:

  • Facebook usage dropped from 79% to 62% between 2017 and 2019.
  • Twitter usage dropped from 36% to 29%
  • Pinterest usage dropped from 36% to 31%
  • LinkedIn usage dropped from 23% to 21%
  • Snapchat is the only social network with stable usage which neither grew and are declined between 2017 and 2019
  • Instagram is the only Social Network that has registered growth within the demographic. Usage has increased from 64% in 2017 to 66% in 2019

With social media usage falling among Millennials and Generation Z, marketers are faced with challenges.

How do marketers keep the attention of this major consumer group without using social media as a crutch? How do marketers continue to earn loyalty when more and more of them are pulling away from the major channels used for valuable interactions?

Keeping Loyalty from Young Customers Without Social Media

Ads are Irrelevant. Pushy Sales Pitches are Done

Imagine for a second that social media doesn’t exist at all. There are still plenty of ways to attract young consumers and engage them while pulling them into you are devoted audience. Sales isn’t one of them. Millennials are a tough crowd to entice with sale and if you push for a sale you’re likely not to get it because most Millennials are immune to ads and traditional sales.

A study from eMarketer shows that 66% of Millennials prefer shopping online compared to buying in store. The digital shopping experience is independent self-directed and much less straightforward than buying in store but both Millennials and Generation Z prefer it. Their preferred buying journey is wildly unpredictable. They ignore sales pitches and traditional ads and seek companies that authentic and actively engage with them.

So if you’re thinking of using a traditional marketing strategy with ads to get young consumers think again.

Keep it Mobile-Friendly

According to Think with Google, two-thirds of customers are more likely to make a purchase when visiting a mobile-friendly site. Considering 61% of them will leave a site if it’s not responsive, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is critical to keeping the younger generations’ attention.

If your site is not mobile friendly, you will automatically lose with the younger generation regardless of how great your content, offers, or products are. Help keep them engaged with a great user experience, design and mobile responsiveness as the base of your strategy.

Remain Transparent and Authentic

Millennials and Generation Z expect the brands they support to be transparent, honest, and authentic. A recent study found that authenticity is what matters most to Generation Z. Two-thirds of them said being true to their values and beliefs is what makes a brand or person stand out.

Building that trust and authenticity into your brand persona and reputation means you must create great content based on the human’s you hire and serve.

Focus on Building Trust and Loyalty

Offering stellar content is one thing but a one-off piece every so often isn’t enough to prove your worth. You must also tie that great content to user intent and produce a consistently. That’s the only way to build your reputation as trustworthy.

Answer the questions your buyer asks at every stage of the marketing lifecycle. Do it with expertise and excellence.

The marketing lifecycle is based on four stages. Each stage connect to different types of content that will help build trust and loyalty at that particular stage.

  1. Awareness is the first stage. It includes the informational search intent where the buyer is aware of their problem and searching for answers. at this stage, you need to focus on creating inbound SEO content and guides that are packed with information as well as leave magnets.
  2. The second stage is interest and intent. This is associated with  investigative search intent. At this point, the buyer understands the information and solution they need and they are looking for the right option. For this stage, you need a website with clear navigation and calls to actions, leave magnets that are centered on your core mission, ebooks that demonstrate your expertise, and case studies or white papers that show your client success stories.
  3. The third stage is where the customer makes their decision. This is transactional search intent where buyers know exactly what they want and are ready to commit. You need user or customer generated content in the stage in the form of testimonials and reviews. You may also need work samples or demonstration depending on your company.
  4. The final stage is loyalty. This is associated with mainly navigational search intense because the buyer knows you, likes you, and is looking for your brand online. But it can also be associated with other kinds of intent. At this stage, you need to create new product announcements, content with high informational value, and content than maintains your high standards.

Email Marketing is Still Effective

Despite the fact that we’ve been hearing for many years that email marketing is dead, it is very much alive and remains one of the most effective ways to reach your audience regardless of age. Millennials especially rely on email as a pillar for communication.

A recent study indicates that 73% of Millennials and 68% of Generation Z prefer to hear from brands through their email boxes. The key is to create engaging emails that are creative. make it authentic, fun, and upfront. Don’t rely on fancy and flashy designs so you can use them. Focus on your voice, style, and the information you offer.

Ultimately, it is the value you provide at all touch-points that determines whether or not you earn and keep your audience’s attention. As long as you are being real, staying mobile-friendly, and providing consistent value without falling into the pushy sales trap, you will be able to win over today’s Young Generation of customers with or without the use of social media.

Social Media

Building a Behavioral Design Social Media Strategy

Behavioral design is marketing that gets people to take action. You use neurological and behavioral insights to develop customer interactions and psychologically influence or change their behavior. Here are some tips you can use to incorporate behavioral design into your social media strategy.

Market to a State of Mind

Behavioral design aims to influence behavior and to do that you must examine your customers feelings. If you’re asking yourself whether you should look at  what someone is thinking to influence their decision making. It’s worth noting that we are not always influenced by reason. Humans are innately emotional beings and our emotional responses affect our decision making.

This means the first step to making a sale is understanding your target audience’s emotional state of mind. A state of mind is a temporary state when you are under high emotional arousal and relying on your subconscious emotional factors. This makes you more susceptible to influence.

Identifying Emotional Mindstates

To identify your customers emotional mindstates, ask two questions:  Which of the eight mindsets best explains your customers desires and what path do they take to maximize their gains or minimize their losses when they are chasing those desires?

The Mindsets

These come from the Values, Addititudes, and Lifestyles segmentation, (VALS), which is a system for grouping consumers according to various psychological factors and demographics in an attempt to predict their behavior and purchasing decision process, by looking at resources and motivations. They fall into high resources or low resources, and consider ideals, achievement, and self-expression..

Innovators: Innovators typically exhibit all three primary motivations in varying degrees. Members who fall in this group are confident enough to experiment, makes the highest number of financial transactions yet remain skeptical of advertising. They’re always taking in information are future-oriented, are self-directed consumers, and believe that science as well as research and development are credible. People who fall in this group are also the most receptive to new ideas and Technologies and have the widest variety of interests and activities.

Thinkers: Thinkers have high resources and are motivated by ideals. They are financially established and aren’t influenced by trends. They plan, research, and consider their options before they act and as such have a tendency toward analysis paralysis. They gravitate towards traditional intellectual pursuits and use technology and functional ways, and purchase proven products.

Believers: Believers have low resources but are also motivated by ideals. They believe in basic rights and wrongs to lead a good life. They value stability and constancy. They watch TV and read novels to find an escape and often rely on faith and spirituality to provide inspiration. they have little to no tolerance for ambiguity; they want to know where things stand.

Achievers: People who fall into this category have both high resources and achievement motivation. They are private, professional people who have a me first and my family first attitude. They believe money is the source of authority and are committed to their family and job. They tend to be moderate, goal-oriented, fully scheduled, and hard-working. They value any technology that helps them increase productivity.

Strivers: Strivers are a group of people who are motivated by achievement but have low resources. They tend to wear their wealth, rely heavily on public transportation, have revolving employment with high levels of temporary unemployment. They rely on video games and video as a form of fantasy and ultimately desire to better their lives but have difficulty in realizing that desire.

Experiencers: Experiencers are a group of people with high resources focused on self-expression motivation. People in this group typically want everything and find themselves to be the first in and first out of trend adoption. They aim to go against the current mainstream, stay up-to-date with the latest fashions, love physical activity because they are  sensation-seeking, believe friends are extremely important, consider themselves incredibly social and are spontaneous.

Makers: Makers have low resources and a self-expression motivation. People in this group generally have a strong interest in everything related to Automotive, tend to be distrustful of the government, have strong outdoor interest such as hunting and fishing, believed in strong gender roles,  Want to own land, see themselves as straightforward but appear to be anti-intellectual to others and have a strong desire to protect what they perceived to be theirs.

Survivors: As a consumer group, survivors have the lowest resources but they do not exhibit a primary motivation. They are the oldest consumers and are thrifty. They tend to be cautious and risk-averse. They watch a lot of TV and are loyal to products and brands. People in this group are the least likely to use the internet and are the most likely to have a landline only household. They spend a lot of their time alone and are not concerned about appearing trendy or traditional. They find comfort in routine, familiar places and people,

Other than using VALS, you can also use the nine enneagram personality types to help you learn more about your target audience and their mindset.

Developing Your Strategy

When it comes to your overall marketing strategy, social media is likely to be a major part of it. If you want to sell a product or service you must have said less yourself as a thought leader in your industry and social media is a great tool for accomplishing that goal.

In addition to behavioral design, you should consider building your social media strategy with mental shortcuts or key cognitive heuristics because these can make engagement with your posts both easier and quicker.

Mental Shortcuts to Use in Social Media


  • Reciprocity: This is the idea that by giving something away people will feel inclined to reciprocate.
  • In-group bias: This is the idea of building a group of people around a shared belief or cause.
  • Bizarreness effect: The idea that people are more likely to share bizarre posts.

As you work on building your social media presence and community, it’s important that you not rely solely on reciprocity and bizarreness. Using bizarreness may get you the engagement in the form of likes and comments, but they may not make an impact on behaviors. Many people say that if you provide value, your effort will be rewarded. It is possible however that your efforts will be a bust with your audience and you won’t get them to take the desired action.

It’s worth taking the time to look into other kinds of cognitive biases that you can use in your social media efforts. You may find other options that are better suited to your audience and industry that you can use in your efforts.

Focus on Genuine Connections

By also focusing on your in-group bias to build genuine connections with your community, this is where you will likely get the most bang for your buck with your behavioral design. The in group are more likely to get an engagement from your audience compared to other strategies simply because you’re using openness and honesty to relate to your audience. This kind of content helps cut through humblebrag posts and creates a genuine connection with your followers.

It’s okay to use the bizarreness posts for shock factor and the reciprocity posts to focus on the transaction, to build your initial audience, but without the in-group aspect, you will not be able to create the strong connections you need to convert people from followers to customers.

Ultimately building a behavioral design social media strategy means remaining consistent with your posting efforts and experimenting until you find what works for you and your audience.

Social Media

Virtual Influencers: A New Trend with Brands

Working with influencers isn’t without problems. They do have large audiences and know how to create awesome planned candid (plandid) shots on Instagram, but they also have a mind of their own. That means they can do and say things that cause sponsors great angst about working with them. We’ve seen it happened with PewDiePie in 2017, when he lost his contracts with Google and Disney for his antisemitic remarks. Brands don’t want to inhibit influencer creativity, but they also don’t want to be associated with people they find risky to their image. This is true for many celebrities, influencer or not, as evidenced by the college admissions scandal and Lori Loughlin losing Hallmark and the final season of Fuller House. Misbehave, and you’ll suffer the consequences because brands need to keep their customers happy.

Perhaps in an effort to bypass working with high-dollar influencers or risking a relationship gone awry, brands are now in the business of creating virtual influencers. If they take off, it could completely change the industry. Removing the human error from influencers, by creating a digital human image and controlling the content gives brands a “perfect” solution, right? Plus, who knows – AI could come into play sooner than we think… completely removing the need for human influencers.

Top Virtual Influencers

Shudu Gram

Considered the world’s first virtual supermodel, Shudu Gram is the invention of a photographer. Shudu is positioned more as a mannequin or a piece of art, but within a few months of launch, the character earned hundreds of thousands of followers. Likely due to the fact that she’s not poised as a woman, her growth stagnated, because at the time of this writing, ”she” has 173K followers, and the account is still fairly active.

Miquela Sousa

Another virtual influencer, known as Lil Miquela, hit the scene shortly after. Though her creator hid in secret for some time, it was eventually revealed that she is the creation of Brud – an L.A. based startup comprised of dreamers, storytellers, and engineers who focus on AI and robotics. Miquela, on the other hand, is positioned as a normal woman. “She” posts photos of herself with “friends” on Instagram, participates in media interviews, supports Black Lives Matter, and so on. As of this writing, she has amassed 1.5 million followers. For reference, the company who created her only has 26.3K, but they don’t post as frequently.

To Hire or to Create Your Own?

Virtual influencers operate online just like a human influencer does. Based on the persona the designer creates for them, they continue to develop and post content that falls in line with that persona. That’s why you see Miquela “living” in photos with friends, doing things like putting on makeup, walking around outside, and so on. Once they’ve amassed a decently following, brands are willing to work with them, too. Depending on the audience, they may even be more willing to work with them since they have more control over the content that’s posted as a result.

Micquela for instance, promotes brands such as Prada and Chane, but claims to do so without receiving payment. Shudu promoted Rhinna’s Fenty Beauty lipstick in a post that went viral.

KFC’s New Colonel Sanders

KFC has gone in an entirely different direction with the virtual influencer concept, some say to parody actual Instagram influencers. Instead of finding one to work with, like Shudu or Miquela (who don’t fit because of their audience, of course) they decided to create one of their own, with the help of Wieden + Kennedy agency. Together, they created a fashionista with the Colonel’s spirit.

The virtual colonel is the newest version of the reimagined reboots of the company founder. He has taken over the KFC Instagram feed where he shows off his lifestyle, including branded tattoos, abs, and connecting with nature in a self-absorbed way.

I know what you’re thinking – an influencer created by the brand, whether the brand is the only client, isn’t an influencer. It’s just branded content packaged a bit differently. But KFC is one step ahead of that argument, having armed the virtual colonel with a media kit of his own to gain additional sponsors. So far, “he” has real partnerships with Dr. Pepper, TurboTax, and OldSpice.

Credit: KFC

Which brings us to the important question: if you can create such a lifelike influencer that goes viral, is there a need to hire humans anymore? The reality is, it’s the human condition of flaws and mistakes that create a genuine emotional connection to the audience. And that’s what’s important for influencers.

Not only this, but there are legal and business issues to consider because of intellectual property ownership. If you create your own internally, does this affect how legal agreements take shape, vs. having the influencer created externally?

Then there’s the moral clauses and identity issues. You’ll still need to include moral clauses in contracts which may not only cover the virtual identity, but also the identity of the creator – even if the creator’s identity isn’t known at the time of entering into the contract. I’m not a lawyer, of course, but these clauses should help protect you and provide recourse in relation to PR issues of authenticity, reputation and tarnishment, and appropriation. Shudu has come under fire because the creator is a white man, profiting off of a black woman, without having to pay one.

You’ll also have issues with endorsements and disclosures, and the FTC maintains you must have the same disclosures, whether the influencer is human or CGI. That’s why if you decide to delve into the virtual influencer realm, either by hiring one like Shudu or Miquela, or creating your own, it’s important to have attorneys involved in the process from the beginning.

Until the landscape becomes a little clearer, and the trend proves that it has true staying power, it makes sense for a lot of brands to stick to human influencers. What are your thoughts on the subject? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Social Media

How to Create a Facebook Page Without a Personal Account

Facebook has a user base of over 2 billion people, and because of that, it’s one of the most powerful social media platforms for marketing your business. If you’re still not there, you’d better get a move on, because I am willing to bet your competition is there, since there are more than 60 million active business pages, many of which use Facebook ads to reach their audience. The platform adds half a million new users every day – that’s about six new profiles every second.

Even though the network is one of the most popular websites online today, there are some people out there who still don’t have a profile on the network. Statistics show half of people who don’t have a Facebook live with someone who does, and use their account to browse the site.

If you’re the person in your social circle that just refuses to use it, I’m not here to pass judgement, but if you’ve got a company that you want to build a Facebook Page for, you’re out of luck.

You Must Have a Personal Account to Create a Facebook Business Page

While you used to be able to create a Facebook Page without a personal account, as of 2018, the rules have changed. Before, all you had to do was sign up for a Facebook Business account and you could create a page with relative ease and speed. Unlike a personal account, you could not have friends and view personal profiles. Because of issues with advertising campaigns and bots, Facebook has had to make some changes to the way they operate, so the Business account option no longer exists.

 In an effort to increase transparency in advertising, Facebook now requires a personal account be attached to all business pages. You cannot create a new Facebook business page unless there is a personal account attached to it. This is because Facebook requires all pages to have an administrator who can manage the profile and assign roles to other individuals in a company for other admins and contributors. This is only available by connecting the page to an admin’s personal account.

In the past, there was no way to show your personal profile was connected to your business page, as everything you post on your business page is posted with the name of the page, rather than the name of the person who is doing the posting. This, too, has changed.

On the right hand side of the page, there is now a Page Transparency Box that shows when the page was created, and who the Team Members are. Anyone who is a page admin is listed in this box. This is why it’s important to make sure you create an authentic profile, even if you don’t ever intend on posting personal status updates or adding your coworkers or personal friends.

When you click the profile name on the Team Members section, you’ll be taken to that person’s profile, where there is a box at the end of their bio, that indicates which pages they manage. There is no way to edit this information to hide it from your profile, and it will show as part of your public profile, regardless of what kind of privacy settings you have in place to protect your content.

Creating Your Facebook Business Page

If you do not have anyone else in the company who is willing to attach their personal account to the page for management purposes, you can create a basic account that you flesh out with enough information to prove it is legitimate, and lock down with privacy settings. That said, don’t count on anything you post on Facebook ever being 100% private.

Visit Choose the category your new page best fits into, and then follow the on-screen instructions to finish creating your page. Spend time adding all the details to your page so you can start benefiting from it right away. In the page settings, you can add additional admins, contributors, and editors so if you have someone else handling your social media, you can give them the necessary permissions to post content directly.

Once you’ve created your Facebook Page, it’s time to start posting content and engaging in conversation to attract new fans. You can get started by reaching out to people who are on your email list, updating your website to indicate you now have a Facebook profile, and running an ad campaign to build an audience. For best results, spend some time building your social media strategy before you create your page so it doesn’t sit inactive too long before it gets put to use.

You can even create a Facebook Group and link it to your page to build a sense of community in your brand and to connect with your customers on a deeper level.

To Instagram or Not to Instagram?

If you’re getting started on Facebook, it’s worth noting Instagram is part of the Facebook family. You can create an Instagram account quickly and convert it to a business account simply by linking it to your Facebook Page. Doing so will allow you to share your Instagram content to Facebook automatically, if you so choose, to help expand its reach.

Once you have a Page set up, you can also start a Facebook Ads account, where you can advertise to people on Facebook, Instagram, and other sites that are part of the Audience network. You can also install a Facebook Pixel on your website as part of your remarketing efforts. This tracks who your website visitors are so you can advertise to them when they are on Facebook. It’s highly flexible in the sense that you can advertise only to people who visit certain pages, or abandon their shopping carts. This allows you to integrate Facebook further into your overall digital marketing strategy.

Social Media

Are You Wasting Your Money on These Facebook Ad Mistakes?

There’s no doubt about it. Facebook is a pay-to-play platform when it comes to advertising your business. Organic reach is at an all-time low and only those who are spending at least a little bit of money are gaining real traction and visibility.

If you have a tight budget, that’s a problem. Even the littlest mistake can destroy your reach and waste your budget. To help you avoid hitting those pitfalls, here are a few specifics to watch out for.

A Lack of Strategy

This is a major problem, especially among newer Facebook advertisers. To be successful on Facebook, you simply must have a clearly defined strategy. You need to understand your goals and objectives and you must be prepared with a plan as to how and when you will assess your analytics.

What are you really trying to accomplish? Do you want engagement on your page, traffic to your website, app downloads or warm leads? Choose one objective at a time.

Audience vs Offer

Another huge problem I see when assessing Facebook ads is targeted audience misalignment. As a business owner, you need to experiment with different offers, but that new offer may also appeal to a new demographic. You can’t automatically assume the audience you’ve been targeting will love your new deal. Experiment by testing different audiences (try A/B split testing) to see which respond better so you can direct your budget accordingly.

Adjusting the Audience Size

In Facebook marketing, audience size matters. If the audience is too small, you won’t reach enough people to make an impact. Too large and you’ll end up with a lot of unqualified or poorly targeted leads. You’re going to have to experiment with your interest targeting to find the perfect middle-ground – the place where you are reaching a steady number of people who are truly interested in your niche. Aim for anywhere between 500,000 to 2,000,000, based on the size of your budget.

Ignoring Video

Hey, look…I get it. Creating video ads isn’t really easy. It’s time consuming and can be costly if you don’t have the in-house tools or expertise to get the job done.

That said, video is huge right now. It stands out prominently in a sea of content. The more creative you are in the first few seconds, the higher your odds of a person watching through to the end. Make your videos a part of your ad campaign and watch your numbers soar.

Set It and Forget It

You absolutely can not set up an ad and let it run its course without checking on it. That just isn’t how strategy, analytics, and adjustments work. You need to check in on your ad on a daily basis to make sure you are having an impact. It’s completely acceptable to make adjustments to your targeting mid campaign, especially if you aren’t seeing the results you were hoping for. Don’t think the ad is doing well at all? Shut it off and start again. Don’t let your ad spend run out.

Fans vs Non-Fans

Want to grow your audience and turn cold leads into warm leads via relationship building? Target your ads to non-fans so you can increase overall engagement over time. Want to convert sales? Target your sales-based ads to the people who are already fans of your page. They’re the ones who have already shown interest and are more likely to make a buying decision on the spot. You’ve worked hard to make them familiar with your brand, so they’re the ones most likely to convert.

Limiting Your Images

Facebook allows you to upload more than one image to an ad for a reason. The platform is designed to assess which of your ad images is doing best, automatically directing more of your budget to the one(s) getting the best engagement. Uploading only one image is a huge waste of your time and money. Upload at least three or four and allow the system to do the testing for you.

Text on Ad Images

Speaking of images, remember the 20 percent rule? Facebook used to disallow any ad that had text over more than 20 percent of the image area. The rules have relaxed a bit, but ads with more than the set amount of text still don’t perform as well as those that adhere to the rule. Use the text overlay tool to keep your text area as low as possible. Your ads will spend a lot better.

Multiple Campaign Audiences

Are you running more than one campaign at a time? If so, you need to make sure you’re using completely different audiences for each campaign. Even if both ads would appeal to the same audience, running them both at the same time, targeted to the same audience, means you are competing with yourself. You end up driving up costs and, in many cases, your ads will completely underperform. If you’re lucky, they won’t deliver and waste your spend at all. Always target different audiences when running more than one campaign.

Ad Fatigue

The more people see your ads, the more tired of them they become. The last thing you want is for people to start clicking through to hide your ads. Customize your ad audiences so that people who enter your sales funnel become excluded from your campaigns. Not that sophisticated yet? Edit your reach objective so that the frequency of your ad is limited to a small number of impressions in a set time period.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you Facebook advertising is a waste of money. Marketing is a part of business and the online world is growing. Experiment and pay attention to your ad sets as they run. Your images and audience targeting skills will make a huge difference, and the analytics won’t lie when it comes time to assess your results. A few simple adjustments could make a huge difference when it comes to how far you are ultimately able to stretch your budget.

Social Media

12 Social Media Apps You Probably Aren’t Using (But Should)

There is really no reason at all for any brand to not be on some form of social media platform for marketing benefits. The reality is that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn aren’t the only platforms out there – they’re just the most common.

But what about other non-standard options? Not only do they exist, but they also can create lucrative opportunities to reach new people. From YouTube to Tik Tok, we’ll tell you about them in this post.


YouTube isn’t dying. Don’t let anyone make you think it is. As a matter of fact, YouTube is considered not just the second largest social platform, but also a major search engine  surpassed only by Google.

People love video content, and that means you can use YouTube to share your message in most cases. Anything you create should be cross-posted either to the platform, or from it to another. You can share links, embed video onto your website, or save your live videos and upload them for preservation.

Facebook Messenger

Yes, it’s a separate app. The only people who can see Facebook Messenger without a separate app are those accessing the platform from desktop. Anyone on mobile — which is the majority of your audience — is using a separate app. Messenger has evolved quite a bit. Your brand can enhance its engagement levels by utilizing chatbots to start new conversations or by pushing ads into the messenger feed.

Tik Tok

Tik Tok is slowly growing in popularity, with a major focus on music. It was initially incredibly popular in eastern countries, but it has been growing in popularity in the US as well. Users can record their own videos with music and special effects, sharing them within the Tik Tok app and across other social platforms. As a business, you can encourage people to participate in specific campaigns, creating videos and sharing them with branded hashtags.


A lot of businesses shy away from Snapchat because the posts disappear so quickly, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One of the cool things about Snapchat is that you can create your own geographic filters for users to utilize as they take photos. A lot of people do save their photos to their phone galleries, cross-posting them in other places. This particular platform is really geared towards a younger audience, especially college crowds.


Pinterest has been absolutely exploding in terms of business branding. It’s another great platform where simple visual images can have a huge impact. You can upload content directly to the site, pin it from your own website, or share the content created by others. People are using Pinterest for more than just DIY tutorials these days. They’re looking for products and want to see who is using them, recommending them, and sharing them. This is an especially great platform for specialized service providers, like photographers or caterers.


Want to get more mileage out of your blogs and written content? Set up a profile for your brand on Medium and post some original and repurposed blog content to the site. You’ll reach a new audience and can include links back to your website so that users can find additional unique content and more information about what you have to offer.


WhatsApp is similar to messenger, but with enhanced features. Businesses have been integrating the platform into their customer service strategies, offering enhanced levels of support, order updates, tracking information, and more. The app allows for individual and group chats; there is also a calling feature.


Pheed is a great app for budding entrepreneurs, but can be incorporated into other business strategies as well. While you can share free content, the platform can also be used to create paid feeds where you can charge a set rate to access your videos, photos, and more. This is great for those who want to offer tutorials or other forms of premium content.


Part social networking, part microblogging platform, Tumblr is like a cross between unique and maybe just a little odd. People love to hop on Tumblr to share and follow blogs, post strange memes, and leave opinionated commentary. That said, they also use the platform to share products and services, ask questions, and make purchasing decisions.

Users on can ask and answer all sorts of questions. Create a profile and look for questions that pertain to your niche or area of expertise. You can post answers in the form of text or video, establishing your brand as an authority in your field.

Having a profile on is sort of like having an online business card. This platform has been around for ages and is still underutilized. Create a profile, connect your resume, and let people know what you’re about. You can view other profiles and track statistics on who visited your page.


This is a cool app that makes it easy to have live voice and text chats with small groups of people. You can see each other, play games together, or create extra visual content and photos, even if you aren’t all in the same place. Brands can use this type of app to communicate internally or with those who are telecommuting.

It can even help you cut down on meeting time, but stay connected (and maybe even create some fun visual content for your other social feeds).

There are dozens of social media platforms out there, so don’t get stuck on the idea that you have to focus on Facebook or Twitter. What works best depends on your product, services, target age group, and geographic location.

Marketing in China? You may want to stick with QQ.

Marketing in the US? WhatsApp may be better.

Do your market research and choose a few new apps to either connect with your audience or enhance your business. Just remember, it’s better to develop and learn one platform at a time. Once you have the hang of things, move on to the next. Before you know it, you’ll have a far-reaching network of social channels.

Social Media

11 Easy Social Media Graphics Tools for Businesses

As a business owner, you know the importance of having creative content on hand for your social media pages. That said, it isn’t always affordable to hire an outside social consultant or graphic designer — especially in the early stages. The good news is there are a ton of easy-to-use, effective online graphic design tools and apps to help. Here’s a few of the most popular to help you outshine the competition.


Canva is an incredibly popular tool, and for good reason. This drag-and-drop platform is simple to use, with dozens of pre-sized templates available for all of your social needs. Need something a little different? Start with a blank slate and create a custom size before you start exploring the images, frames, and features.

Canva is primarily free, but you can upgrade to a pro account or simply pay by the piece for embellishments as you use them. The a la carte method usually costs around $1 per piece. Upload your own images, use the ones Canva provides, or mix and match. It’s easy to create pieces that consistently match your brand or specific campaigns.


Another great tool you can use to create complete social images is PicMonkey. It’s also free for the base, but you can upload to an inexpensive paid account for around $5/month. PicMonkey is an especially useful tool if you like creating collages with a series of products, staff photos, or even customer generated images.

Adobe Spark

With Adobe Spark, you aren’t just limited to still images. You can also create videos, animated social posts, and even full website pages. This is an incredibly useful tool for businesses who want to create branded stories incorporating different types of visual content. Start with the free version and then consider the individual plan ($9.99/month) or the team plan ($19.99/month per license).


Have you ever looked at a gorgeous image in your social feed and wondered why you can’t get your text overlay to look as nice over the images behind it? Snappa is the solution you’ve been waiting for. This app is specifically designed to help with text design, placing a great deal of emphasis on help you get your background images and text to pair together just right. You’ll be able to darken or color the photo and alter some of the other effects, creating perfect balance.


Ever wonder how designers make it look like their own website is on a screen within a photo? Apps like Placeit make it easy for you to create that effect on  your own. Placeit offers a wide variety of templates for both video and photos. You’ll use your own URL to grab a screenshot to insert into the image. The app does the rest!

Pablo by Buffer

Buffer created their own social media image editor, which is a great tool for anyone, but especially if you are a Buffer user to begin with. Their tool is packed with royalty-free images free for use, or you can upload your own stock choices or personal photos.

Pablo’s resizing tools are also super compared to most other sites. You’ll just have to adjust your text overlays to make sure everything is properly aligned. Or, you can use their free Chrome extension and make it even easier to use. Simple. Free. Easy!

Word Swag

WordSwag is a super fun mobile app you can use on any smartphone (and yes, that means it’s iPhone and Android compatible). There is a small cost — $3.99 for Android or $4.99 for iOS. Use it to upload images of your own; then, choose from a wide variety of text templates to create something entirely new. It’s perfect for creating gorgeous quote images or even those (hopefully) viral memes with thousands of reshares. All you have to do is create your design and upload them to your social platforms.


Do infographics make you drool? We love them, but in many cases they do require a bit of an investment in both time and money. Look no further than Piktochart. This app is available for free, but you can also upgrade to a Lite version ($15/month) or Pro ($29/mo). The range of templates varies greatly, so you’ll want to consider the amount of artwork you want to create on a monthly basis as you choose. Start with the free version to test it out, though!


Trying to figure out how to keep your Insta stories moving along? Over helps you get your design work over with (pun totally intended) and makes it easy to upload graphics with shapes, graphics, and text. Use it to drive your stories towards a more professional look and feel. The base version of the app, only available on iOS, is free; the Pro version is $9.99/month.


Not every image you create has to come from an original photo. Skitch is an amazing tool that lets you capture screenshots. Use them individually or collage them together to create a gorgeous panorama of images. Circle important pieces of information, blur sensitive text, or add colorful overlays. This app’s annotation features leave a lot of room for creativity.


Desygner (we see your clever name!) is well-known for its ease-of-use on both desktop and mobile devices, though you can still use it on the web. It’s easy to use and, like so many other apps, offers a stunning library of free images you can incorporate into your designs. Everything can be customized and rearranged, from text to layers. This app is free and can be upgraded for $6.95 for additional templates and features.

There are dozens of incredible apps out there – but sometimes, that’s exactly the issue. Figuring out which works best often comes down to trial and error. Experiment with as many as you’d like and then consider investing in the upgrades only if they really work for you. Remember – the point should always be to make work easier and more efficient (not increase costs and add more tasks). With tools like these, social media graphics will be easier than ever to manage and make.

Need more help than an app can provide? Hey, we get it. Social media marketing is hectic! Reach out to us here at the office to explore how we can help.

Social Media

What 2018 Taught Us About Social Media

One thing is for sure: the social media world is ever-evolving and there is no sign of a slow-down in sight. There were a lot of changes in 2018, each providing a lesson and a great deal of insight on how the public perceives and uses available platforms.

But as far as changes go, some are always more impactful than others. The Cambridge Analytica scandal, for example, really impacted how marketers behave and interact with Facebook – but it also changed public perception of the platform’s safety.

Events like these permanently alter the social media world for users and businesses, but Cambridge Analytica is really just the beginning. I’ll cover this and many other major issues in today’s blog post.

Data Protection is Critical

This obviously isn’t a new concept, but it data protection certainly made headlines last year. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed the company harvested data from more than 87 million user profiles. Despite the way CA and Facebook attempted to frame the issue, the public viewed it as a purposeful breach of trust (and rightly so).

Later in the year, affected users were automatically signed out of Facebook on their devices. This time, it was another breach of privacy related to the “View As” function was found. Facebook has since disabled the button.

Facebook wasn’t the only organization with data protection issues. The dying Google+ platform had an issue with its API; developers were able to access user’s friend info when it was supposed to be kept private. Companies like FIFA, Uber, and British Airways all made the news for similar issues, too.

One of the biggest data protection changes occurred in May, when the EU implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act. New laws enacted very strict personal information protection rules for European visitors. And while the laws apply to the EU, any business serving anyone from the EU had to change to keep up.

Social Interaction is Paramount

In the past, most marketers (and users) looked to social media profiles as a tool for information sharing. But that meant we were talking about people and ideas instead of speaking with people, which isn’t ideal.

That’s all different now. Social strategies in 2018 evolved to place heavier emphasis on brand awareness, social engagement and meaningful interactions.

What does that really mean to you? Two things:

  • First, your social media team needs to be consciously aware of engagement. They must also become more responsive. People want to know their favorite brands are listening to them, but they also desire action as a result of that feedback. You need to do more than just copy paste “thank you for your message.”

  • Second, you need to create your content in a way that encourages deeper levels of engagement. It needs to be truly valuable and worthy of conversation. Social platforms want to see follower shares on post bringing in engagement, too, not just existing for the sake of existing. The trickle-down effect is important.

API Protection

Facebook and Twitter made a lot of changes to their API settings this year, limiting the way you can use third-party apps to post to your profiles, pages, and groups. Facebook, for example, does not traditionally allow users to schedule posts to their personal profiles, but many people used Hootsuite to get around the limitation. Facebook removed this functionality to protect the integrity of personal profiles.

Twitter also made a major API change. In the past, a user could load multiple accounts into a third-party management app and then cross-promote the same exact post to multiple platforms at the same time. They made this change to protect the integrity of the platform and the posts, but it was also targeted at cutting down on spam and the fast spread of misinformation – including political propaganda.

Video is Still Top Priority

Content is still king and video content is by far the most popular and highly consumed form we saw in 2018. We saw a lot of creative marketing techniques blossom over the course of the last 12 months, including short videos that play on loop (think the older now-defunct Vine and Instagram videos). This format is ideal for capturing short attention spans.

So where are people marketing these shorter videos? Instagram and Facebook stories, Snapchat, Facebook Watch, and IGTV, mostly. YouTube is less popular; it’s better for longer-form content instead.

Dark Social is Growing

It’s not as ominous as it sounds — dark social isn’t like the black market or the dark web. Instead, it’s the interactions that take place behind the scenes on social media platforms. For example, someone shares your post but instead of publishing it to their public wall they send it to a friend via private message instead. 

This type of engagement isn’t bad for your brand; in fact, it can be a bigger motivator for conversion than even direct warm marketing campaigns. The problem is you can’t see the engagement or how much of it you’re getting, which makes it extremely difficult to measure. Trial and error is the number one method here.

In 2019, focus on creating shareable content with the knowledge that it may spread “in the dark.” Make sure what you create is valuable, clear  and self-explanatory. Your team won’t be able to see interactions to engage or answer questions, so the content needs to stand on its own as valuable.

Influencer Partnerships

The public trusts influencers more than ever before – maybe because they’re more willing than ever to destroy them if they do even the smallest thing wrong. But I digress; the big takeaway here is that you need to get super-creative at building relationships and partnerships with influencers of all sizes. Depending on your industry, you may have to dig a bit deeper to find a related niche. The work is worth the effort, though.

The trick here is to remember that influencer relationships are long-term, not one-offs. You want to partner with people who are seriously happy with your product or services, are willing to continue using them, and will then honestly promote them. What you absolutely do not want is someone who will lie on your behalf. Authenticity is key, even in sponsored relationships.

Think outside the box, too. Influencer marketing isn’t just about retail products like cooking supplies or deodorants. Do you offer an accounting or analysis product? Consider partnering with small businesses to create reports or data showcasing your features while highlighting their own successes. You’ll have win-win content that serves dual purposes.

In the end, 2018 taught me so much about social media, promotion, and the way users perceive their relationships with the brands they follow. The question now is whether or not you’re paying attention and are willing to adjust your strategies. Flexibility is your number one winning strategy for 2019.

Social Media

From Zero to Hero: Building a New Social Media Strategy

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a brand new business or if it just never seemed like social media would be a great fit for your marketing strategy. It’s never too late to get started. More importantly, it’s a heck of a lot easier than you think to build a social strategy from the ground up. We’ll walk you through how to start fresh by setting some simple goals, making a plan, and moving forward one step at a time.

Develop SMART Goals

I’ve talked about SMART goals in the past – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant,and Time-bound. Setting your goals with the SMART strategy ensures you’re getting results from your social strategy, whether that’s engagement or sales. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for adjustments within the SMART philosophy, either. Goals for each platform can be slightly different, as long as they all feed positively into your overall marketing plan.

Create Audience Avatars

Audience avatars (personas) are as important for social media as they are for any other aspect of marketing. Take some of the data you’ve already gathered and think about what it says about your potential social audience. What type of content is that audience most likely to comment on or otherwise engage with? Should you be focused on written blogs or shorter pieces of visual content?

Make sure you’re comparing your existing marketing data with available data for social platforms. For example, some gurus claim Facebook is great for the older generations, and that Millennials are shopping elsewhere, but the reality is that there are more Millennials on the platform than there are people in other generations. This is especially important information to have when you begin to develop paid ad strategies. Splitting creatives to target each of your customer personas is very effective.

Slow Your Roll

You don’t need to build a presence on every single social platform at the same time. You do want to be present on at least a few (eventually), but it’s smarter to start with the platform where your biggest target audience is already actively participating.

Take your time to set up your profiles, fill in all of the details, upload your branded logos and banners, and start creating quality, platform-specific content. Once you’re comfortable operating within your first platform, go ahead and add your second to the mix. Track, measure, and investigate what works as you go – don’t rush it.

About Those Profiles

Your social media profiles aren’t really about you (shocking, I know). They’re all about showing your audience what you can do for them – or how you can make their lives easier in some clear, distinct way. This means using clean and simple language that caters to your audience, as opposed to people who understand your niche. Be personable and relatable. Also, check back every couple of months or so to make sure your profiles are still relevant.

Another important aspect of your profile and account in general is the voice and tone you’ll be using. Instead of thinking about your customer personas, consider what your business persona would be if it were human. Would it have a personality? Would it be a friend, coach, or advisor? Would your customers trust your business?

Use all of this information to create a profile or persona. Then, re-ask these questions at regular intervals and update as your audience adjusts along the way.

Remember the 80/20 Rule

One big mistake businesses make when building a new social strategy is posting all promotional content, all the time. No one following your pages wants to see commercial after commercial; they’re already over-saturated with advertising every single time they hop online. You need to break through that wall by being useful, engaging, and better than the other guy. The type of content you create and distribute will have a huge impact on your overall success.

Design a Posting Strategy

How often will you post on your social platforms? Once per day, three times per week, or several times per day? What time of day is best for your audience to read what you post? While there are a lot of articles out there about the best day and time for posting, the truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You need to experiment to find out what will work best for your business and your audience.

Offer content your followers can use. Tips, tricks, memes, and even motivational quotes (especially if they are related to your industry) all do well on social media. Post one sales post for every four non-sales posts. Mix it up by sharing blog posts, video content, and photos. Those should be real photos showcasing your shop, staff, or special events. Show your fans the human side of your business.

Engagement is Critical

The point of social media is to be social, right? This means you will need to spend a little bit of time engaging with your followers. But hold on before you jump in feet-first; there is a fine line between managing your social platforms and allowing them to suck you in and eat up your time.

To make this work in a positive way, set aside 15-minute windows, a few times per day, to check for messages and comments that need replies or to scroll your Twitter feed looking for relevant content to comment on. Your social media audiences want to feel like you genuinely care about communicating with them.

Analyze Your Response

Nothing you do will matter if you’re not hitting targets for engagement, followers, leads, or any of your other SMART goals. Take a look at each platform’s insights and watch how they change over time. You should be able to get a bird’s eye view of what’s working and what’s not. Use what you find to keep testing and adjusting your strategies.

Did you get a consistently better response on a certain day of the week or a certain time of day? Maybe a particular content format, like a video or a photo, does better than all of your other content types. Create similar pieces of content and post them at the times of day that seemed to work best for you. This doesn’t mean you need to ditch all of your other content styles or posting times, but it should definitely tell you when and where your most valuable pieces should be published.

Keep your business content and strategy genuine. Social media users appreciate honest, authentic personalities and consistent, timely communication. The world of social media can be fast-paced (and sometimes a little cruel), but with consistent effort you can use your business’s presence to make an impact.

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