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STRYDE | Planning Your Back to School Social Push

Planning Your Back to School Social Media Push

By | Social Media | No Comments

It’s the end of the summer and parents are counting down the days until their kids are back in school. College students are packing bags and checking off their lists of items to get things done. Even if there aren’t any students in the house, people will take advantage of the lower prices of household items and still go out to shop the sales.

The back-to-school shopping season is the second-largest seasonal shopping period of the year, following winter holidays. With “back to school,” “school supplies,” and “back to school sales” being top search terms from 2013, this is not the time of year to overlook and skip out on the potential opportunities. If you haven’t even considered using social media to promote your back-to-school products, here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider before you’re sent to detention.

Social media has changed back to school shopping.

Peer reviews are more likely to resonate with users than expert reviews. When was the last time your friend used a social media post to ask for advice of what dentist to go to or what product to use? The networks make it easy to quickly poll and get the best information from a group of peers that you trust.

According to one survey, 64.1% of shoppers report that social media will influence their choices. Whether it’s the recognition of something they saw on a brand’s page or a post from their friend that highlighted an item, people trust their network to tell them about the best deals and the newest products.

With all of the competition, your store and brand should be leveraging your social channels to share information. Whether you give away coupons or share exclusive sales and content, you can get the word out quickly and directly to your followers.

Buy button adds a new dimension.

With the addition of the buy buttons on posts on social platforms, social networks are allowing users to bypass the regular routine of heading to a website to buy directly from the merchant on the social platform. Showcasing your products on social media can get you a sale with the user not ever leaving the platform. Use the best pictures you have of the product.

Some stores recognize that the styling of their Instagram accounts were getting people excited to make purchases, but without the buy button, they found that they couldn’t convert the sale. These stores created a microsite that shows the post and links users directly to the products. It’s a new way to shop!

Influencer marketing can drive new leads.

The power of influencers is apparent. In a recent study, YouTube stars are up to five times more influential than other celebrities. If you want to influence buying choices of teens, look to the video social platform for you new partnerships.

Target is the latest store to use social media stars to promote their back-to-school fashions. Beginning in July 2015, six ads are being released that feature some well known “kid influencers.” Each ad will focus on a different trend and a specific promotion. The stars of these ads will use their own social accounts to promote the campaign as well.

It’s not just about using these online celebrities to sell a product, you’re also able to cast a wider net and find new customers through their followers. The goal when you partner should be that you both promote the content being created and tag each other.

Keep customer service in mind.

With the beginning of school, many people can get stressed out easily. Many are overwhelmed by the long list of items that are needed. With different requirements for different ages, parents may need help keeping everything straight.

Parents aren’t the only ones to be overwhelmed! For a new college student, it can be intimidating hearing the list of items they may need. From toasters to bedding, shopping for home is an entirely different experience.

Make sure that you look to provide support both in and outside the store and use social media to watch the conversation and recognized the pain points. Many places offer pre-populated shopping lists that customers can pick up in store to personalized lists that they can create and print from home, look for ways to help your customers get through this season with little pain.

Back-to-school shopping season is that rare time before the winter holidays when you can test out some new marketing plans and gauge interest from your community. To be successful, you need to come up with your content strategy so that you can maximize the shopping season.

All Marketing Initiatives Run On Content… Don’t Screw It Up

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

2015 is rapidly approaching and we’ve already discussed how October is the best time to ramp up your inbound marketing efforts. Now, we want to look even further into the future and delve into marketing initiatives for 2015.

The marketing initiatives that you focus energy on in 2015 act as the mode of transportation to your company’s goals. Whether your marketing efforts involve a new channel, a shift in branding, or a shift in positioning, effectively planning now will make your initiative even more successful.

What should that planning include? Let’s think again of your marketing initiative as a mode of transportation. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say it’s a car. You’re probably hoping that your 2015 marketing initiatives will be shiny, top-of-the-line, and dependable. Most of all, you want your initiative car to take you safely to your destination.

So, you have this beautiful vehicle, all waxed and ready to go. You hop in on January 1st and turn the key in the ignition and… bupkis.

angry car

Content As Fuel

Why? Why after all of that researching and waxing did your car fail to start?

You forgot the gas.

The gas that fuels your marketing initiatives is content. Without it, your plans will simply sit in the garage, gathering dust.

See Through The Hype

It can be a challenge to convey the true importance of content, with every SEO and their mother touting it as the “new big thing.” But, smart marketers know that creating content isn’t new. And it is in fact content that allows you to reach your marketing goals.

Hype is dangerous. It’s dangerous because it can lead us to an unfair dismissal of a critical component. Don’t fall into this trap!

Content is invaluable, here are 3 big reasons why:

  • The Content Council’s research indicates that 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are also more likely to buy from that company.
  • HubSpot found that brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month.
  • AOL reports that 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day.

Choosing Regular, Mid-Grade, or Premium Content

Just like gasoline, content comes in different qualities which all impact the outcome of your initiative. Regular quality content is probably going to get you to your destination, but with a price. The dollars you saved on content might just gunk up your branding and message. Mid-Grade content has a better chance of getting you to your destination and is going to be a bit easier on your precious marketing initiative engine.

However, if you really want to zoom by the competition and keep your brand performing at it’s peak, premium content is necessary.

premium content

Don’t Screw It Up

“Don’t screw it up.” Seems a bit harsh right? But seriously, you must get your content right.

Too often, we focus our energy and attention towards the marketing initiatives themselves: washing, waxing, fawning over them, and protecting them from every little scratch. That’s great and all, but like we said earlier, if you’re doing all of that and forget to fill up on gas, you’re not going anywhere.

How do you prepare your content to support your marketing initiative? We have a few tips to get you started:

  • Determine what content type will support your initiatives. – The content you create will vary depending on your goals. Re-positioning your product? Take a look into videos to showcase the visual aspect of your re-position. eBooks are also a great tool when re-positioning your product. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
  • After you’ve determined type, create topics and titles. – These topics should be intertwined with each initiative and include relevant keywords, etc.
  • Nail down your Q1 editorial calendar. – After you’ve determined the content that will support your initiative, you must cement your editorial calendar for the first quarter. This is an essential step in ensuring that you’re loading up on premium fuel. Knowing when you’re promoting content will also allow you to curate 3rd party content effectively.

We’re really looking forward to the road ahead in 2015 and we hope your vehicles are filled with premium fuel. If they aren’t, we’re here to help!

Tired Of All The Content Marketing Hype? We Are Too!

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

content

If you’re like me, you’re probably sick and tired of all the hype around content marketing. Content marketing is nothing new. Smart marketers have been doing it for years, however, with all the changes to Google’s algorithm, SEO’s have been forced to move away from spammy, manipulative tactics and focus on content generation and promotion.

The sad truth is most SEO’s have no clue what they are doing. They tell their clients, “Yes, we are content marketers. We build content for you and then we promote it.” At the end of the day, they are churning out, at best, generic content that’s keyword stuffed and sending it out socially via their clients’ social media accounts. This, my friends, is not content marketing.

So what is content marketing? Well, that will require a very long answer, so I’m going to break it up into three separate posts for you. Let’s jump in!

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is having a deep understanding of exactly who your customers are (or should be), understanding exactly what they need to know and then delivering content to them in a relevant format and compelling way. The whole process begins with content strategy.

Content Strategy

As I just discussed, creating content for content’s sake is a really bad idea.

Ash Buckles, one of my mentors, always used to tell me, “Everything you do needs to be on purpose.” Doing things on purpose is also known as strategy. When it comes to content strategy and developing a killer content marketing campaign, everything you do should be focused around goals, and more specifically around organizational goals.

Every single piece of content should tie back into at least one of your organizational goals. For those who didn’t pay attention in your college strategy classes, real goals, or quality goals, are specific, time bound and customer centric.

Here are some examples of really good content goals:

  • I want to increase leads coming from my website by 25 percent by October.
  • I want to reduce the amount of customer service calls by 5 percent by the end of Q2.
  • I want to increase our opt-in email list by 1,000 subscribers by May and send them relevant content every month.
  • I want to grow our external content partners by 10 in the next 12 months.
  • I want to grow revenue from our reseller channel by 15 percent by the end of the year.

As you can see, very specific organizational goals are quite different than generic goals and actually make it easier for you to put a content marketing strategy together.

Now that you have your goals and know where you’re going, you’ll need to do your research to see what content you need to create.

Research

Before you begin any effective content marketing strategy, you have to know what to write about. Creating content that’s on target every single time is extremely important in your ability to create interest, drive traffic, increase leads and generate revenue.

To do this you need to get really good at building out buyer personas. Understanding who your personas are and what their pain points are is crucial. Developing buyer personas is extremely hard. If you can pull this off, you’ll be light years ahead your competitors.

For those wanting more information about performing your research and building out personas, here are some good posts to check out:

Topic Modeling

Now that you have your buyer personas fleshed out, you’ll need to figure out what content they are seeking out. I like to do this through three different ways.

1. I want to interview current customers or clients. Nothing will help you generate topic ideas better than speaking with those who’ve gone through the process of finding information to solve their needs.

I typically like to run through two sets of questions. First, questions about their pre-sale pain points, struggles, concerns, etc. Here are some of the questions I like to go through:

Second, I like to ask questions about their post-sale experience. Was there anything confusing about working with us? Was our product hard to use? And so on. Here are some of the questions I like to go through:

This can be done by picking up the phone or sending out a survey via survey monkey. Either way, you should be able to get some pretty amazing data.

2. I want to interview sales and customer service representatives. I’ll run through the same list of questions with them, however, the answers are often times different and provide additional topic areas that should also be focused on.

3. I want to do some good old-fashioned competitive analysis. When doing this, I typically pull all my competitors’ RSS feeds and all industry publications’ RSS feeds, as well as Google Blog Search and Google News feeds around certain search queries into Feedly, and then start mining that data for topic ideas.

After running through these three activities, you should have more than enough content ideas and topics to last you several months. This leads us into creating an editorial calendar to help you stay on schedule.

For those wanting more ideas on how to generate great content topics, here are some amazing blog posts to look through:

Editorial Calendar

Editorial calendars aren’t a new thing for most people. For those who are less familiar with editorial calendars, editorial calendars serve two purposes — to create a schedule of when you will be publishing your web content (i.e. blog post, white paper, e-book, video, infographic, etc.) and to help you stay organized.

Setting up an editorial calendar is easy. All you need is a calendar (seriously any calendar will do). At Stryde, we use several different solutions for our clients and ourselves. Some of our managers prefer using a hard copy of a calendar they hang in their cube, some prefer using a calendar within Google Docs and some prefer using plugins from within our clients blogs to help them manage their content

The most important aspect of your editorial calendar is ensuring your calendar has milestones laid out for each piece of content. This will help you to know when graphic elements are supposed to be completed, when the written components are to be completed, etc. That way you don’t get to the final, deliverable due date and find yourself nowhere close to being finished.

For those wanting to read some other posts on editorial calendars, check out these posts:

So, that wraps up the first post in our content marketing series. Our next post will talk about producing your content and our third post will talk about promoting your content. If you liked this post, we’d love for you to share it and check back for the next two posts.