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Article, Digital Marketing

Using Social To Your Advantage; Creating Engaging Content to Stop Their Scroll

Have you learned the latest trending TikTok dance? Or tried the new viral Chick-fil-A ordering hack?

Don’t worry, neither have I. Social media can have a reputation for being a bit unprofessional or even adolescent, but I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. Social media is a phenomenal tool that can help your business grow in many ways. But it is important to understand how to use it and how to create engaging and diverse content that will stop users scroll on the other end of the screen!

1. Use eye-catching and on brand graphics
Eye catching graphics that are branded are a great way to switch up your feed while still maintaining a consistent look and feel. Sharing witty one liners, or explaining more about your core values are some ideas when it comes to creating social graphics. This is also a great option for those that feel they “have nothing to post”.

Tips for creating and sharing social graphics:
– Take up as much vertical real estate on the screen as possible. For example, Instagram allows posts up to 1080 x 1350 pixels, 4:5 aspect ratio. Use that to your advantage and create graphics that will Cathy heir eye and fill their screen.
– Use brand colors consistently so when followers see your colors it creates brand recognition.
– Graphics can be more than a single image. Create carousels so users have to swipe to read more, or even create a fun video that entices them to stop scrolling and watch from beginning to end.

2.  Utilize video as much as possible
With a boom in the world of video content, platforms are pushing for users and businesses to hit record instead of posting a classic picture. This may seem simple at first, until you realize what actually goes into the production behind that video you saw on TikTok or Instagram Reels. But those who put the time in and post videos will be rewarded, because they allow you to reach a larger potential audience than just a single image.

Tips for creating and sharing video content:
– All clips need to be taken vertically. Horizontal clips do not preform well and are not as eye catching because they are not filling the watcher’s screen.
– Take multiple takes from different angles so when it comes to clipping together the end result, you have options. The videos you don’t use can also be saved for a rainy day, and save you time as you build your video content.
– Take videos in a setting with good natural light and if need be bring a light source to help brighten the scene.
– Use fun audios and music that fit the video.

3. Take advantage of UGC
UGC stands for User Generated Content which is an important tool when it comes to have engaging social content. These are usually people who love your brand or had a positive experience and shared with their own followers. A modern take on “word-of-mouth” you might say. When you are able to gather UGC and post it to your own social feed, it can draw more people to want to post their own UGC for your business.

Tips for sharing or gathering UGC:
– When applicable, ask for permission to use their pictures or videos.
– Scroll through your mentions, tags, recommendations and even pictures on google from people who might have left reviews or checked in. These are great places to discover UGC.
– Use high quality content; don’t feel the need to post all UGC you’re tagged in.
– When interacting with customers in person, ask them to follow and tag you on social media.

Need help navigating the tricky overwhelming world of social and help developing a consistent social feed and presence? The Bark Firm is here to help!

Article, Digital Marketing

3 Tips to Write to Relate–and Convert.

We’ve all been there: whether at a party, on a date, or networking, we’ve all experienced the presence of someone who boasts their accomplishments, credentials, and interests the entire time you’re together. They tell you what they’ve got goin’ on–and belieeeeeve them, it’s a lot–and ask very little about you, or what you like, need, or want.

It’s unpleasant, self-serving, and (for lack of a better term) a huge turn-off. Right?

So… why would you expect that experience to be any different for your customer?

Gone are the days of shouting achievements and qualifications from the rooftops to show potential customers why you’re better for them than your competition. If you really want to reach them, show them how you’ll actually help them.

Not sure how to do that? Fret not, we’re here to help. Here are three quick tips to get you started:

1. Ask Questions
Want to get to know someone better? It’s as easy as asking a question! Use questions in your captions, graphics, and long-form copy to catch attention and get your customer thinking. This can also encourage engagement–which keeps your content in front of them more often.

2. Use You-First Statements
We get it, questions aren’t always appropriate! But when you must use statements, try putting your reader first rather than talking about yourself. “Your company will see benefits x and y…” is a lot more directly appealing and applicable to a potential customer than “We can do x and y…”

3. Flip the Script
Excited about the features of your newest product and having trouble talking about it in a way that doesn’t seem like a hard sell? Try flipping the script! Instead of “Our new product does x, y, and z!”, try saying, “Want to do x, y, and z? You’ll love our new product!”

There you have it! Three easy ways to be a considerate marketer that relates more directly with your customer. We encourage you to try implementing these steps in your next social posts, emails, and other marketing materials and watch the engagements and conversions grow!

Need additional help with content marketing that works? You know where to find us.

Article, Digital Marketing

5 Reasons to Implement Video Into Your Social Media Strategy

If you log in to any one of your social media accounts right now, we’re willing to bet you’ll notice video content within the first 10 seconds. Go ahead and try, we’ll wait!

…we were right, weren’t we?

So why is video so prevalent on social media these days? Because it reigns king when it comes to social media growth and engagement, that’s why–and people have officially caught on.

If you’re resisting the idea of putting resources into quality video content, or wondering why you should be implementing video into your social media content strategy at all, here are 5 reasons why you absolutely should look into it (or at the very least, consider the possible return on a worthwhile investment).

Reason #1: It Gets More Exposure
With the rise of TikTok in the height of the pandemic, the O.G. social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram were quick to take notice of how effective its short, quippy videos and catchy tunes were at attracting users. Intending to help retain their users and remain competitive, they created their own version known as Reels, which has become the ticket to growth on Instagram today.

Most algorithms favor accounts that use Reels to share original video, use Reels tools like trending sounds, and customize Reels with tools like text and filters. Besides these platforms promoting adoptabiliity of their new features and tools, video content typically performs best based purely on the fact it captures a viewer’s attention for longer.

Reason #2: It Captures Attention More Quickly
Speaking of attention… did you know that a goldfish is estimated to have an attention span of 9 seconds? Did you know that researchers have found that human attention spans are now even shorter than that? Video is a key tool in capturing and keeping the attention of your followers as it’s constantly moving, informing, and entertaining the viewer.

Reason #3: It Gets More Engagement
Once they’ve captured your followers’ attention, videos are proven to garner more engagement. Not only will followers stay on your post longer in their feed to view your video than they would by briefly looking at a photo (and giving it a double-tap if you’re lucky), but according to a study by Later.com, social media videos generate 1200% more shares compared with images and text combined.

Reason #4: It is More Personable
Unlike a long-winded paragraph, video is extremely easy to consume and allows you to directly control your story. This not only makes your content more engaging, but it also increases your brand’s authenticity and trust.

Consider the different ways that the response “Okay” can be interpreted in email or over text for example. A one-word response is often misinterpreted over digital communication, but when someone says it to you directly in person, over the phone or otherwise, you can tell exactly how they mean it. In a similar way, your brand can utilize video content to show customers exactly who you are, what you stand for and what you can do for them.

Reason #5: It Appeals to a Broad Audience
It’s no secret that Gen Z is a digital generation, but even before they dawned the title “TikTok-ers”, the Millennials binged video clips on the all-but-forgotten platform Vine. They gave rise to today’s YouTube celebrities and were FAR too influenced by MTV music videos, but also grew up watching America’s Funniest Home Videos with their parents and being babysat by the same classic cartoons they grew up on when THEIR parents weren’t watching the evening news.

Our point? The one thing nearly every generation on social media has in common is an affinity to consuming content through a video medium–be it music, news, tutorials, or our peers dancing in their living rooms.

We know, we know. Producing quality video content may be more time-consuming than taking a photograph, but once complete and implemented correctly, we also know that you will see your results go further, your audiences grow closer, and your following grow larger.

The bottom line is: give it a try and create some high-quality videos for all of your social platforms, whether it’s for posts, stories, or ads. If video content production and optimization makes you nervous, turns out that’s something we do and love!

Our team has a firm grasp on what makes a great video and how to share it. Contact us today.

Article, Digital Marketing

What Is Local SEO?

There can easily be a lot of confusion around the terms and acronyms surrounding digital marketing initiatives that businesses can undergo these days. There are plenty of times when individuals can feel overwhelmed or confused by such terms that have to deal with strategic and technical search engine optimizations. Today, we’re going to address local SEO and what that could potentially mean for your business.

Local search engine optimization (SEO) gives businesses visibility for geographically-specific searches occurring on search engines such as Google & Bing. When people search for a service or place around them, Google (and other search engines) will display businesses within the user’s locality. The user’s location is determined by their IP address for desktop searches and geolocation for mobile searches. The name of the game here is optimizing based on relevancy to the user’s search query. For example, if someone is looking for a dog groomer near them, then a dog grooming business would want to make optimizations based that search query, “dog groomer near me” or “dog groomer in city name”.

There are two primary methods that give businesses an opportunity to show up within their local market. We’ll dive into Google’s products specifically since they own a primary share of the search market.

  1. Organic search results (the website)
  2. Local packs (the Google My Business page)

The process of local search engine optimization take place using both of these methods. The business’s website is the first step. The BARK Firm works on websites by doing local keyword research and optimization of on-page content. This could be something as simple as using geo-modifiers within content or as complicated as marking up the site’s meta information to inform search engines of services areas. Following the aforementioned example of a dog groomer, this could mean building a site where the address of the business is placed in the footer of the website, the headers of the site including “Professional Dog Grooming in Casper, Wyoming”, and meta-information contains keywords such as “Dog Grooming in Casper” and “Pet Grooming in Natrona County”.

The second step is optimizing the businesses online listings (primarily the Google My Business page). A strong GMB page will increase a business’s online visibility almost instantly by making it show up in listings where it didn’t exist before. There are a handful of strategies to further optimize the listing for increased visibility such as keyword research in page descriptions, carefully choosing categories and subcategories, and posting organic content to the listing for increased indexing frequency. Again, this could look like selecting “pet grooming” as a service category, posting examples of the grooming work done, and special offers/coupons to incentivize those looking at dog groomers to come to your location.

The BARK Firm can help you with all these things and have been doing it for years! Learn more about our service offerings as well as clients we’ve helped in the past by contacting us today!

Article, Digital Marketing

Email Marketing and Why it Works

Many businesses these days are asking themselves if email marketing is really worth it, and the answer is YES! One of the top benefits of email marketing is that it has the highest ROI (return on investment) of all forms of marketing, averaging about $42 in return for every $1 spent.

But ROI isn’t the only reason why email marketing is worth your time and investment. The importance of email marketing comes down to it being a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox.

Unlike other marketing channels, email allows you to keep in touch with your customers on a consistent basis. Not only is each email an opportunity to connect with your subscribers, but it’s also an opportunity to further cement your unique brand identity in their minds. When done properly, email marketing can be an extension of your brand by providing a high-quality design that leads your customers through an experience, from awesome product photography to showcase your services. 

The bottom line is that you should be communicating with your customers consistently. That is just what is expected of businesses in today’s world. With email marketing, you can meet those expectations and more by creating a mutually beneficial relationship between your business and your email subscribers.

10 Fun & Helpful Email Marketing Tips:

1. Always Put the Reader First No one wants to listen to a brand talk exclusively about itself. Brands that solve problems for people, though? Those are the ones that get heard.

2. Experiment With Emojis Emojis are more than just fun illustrations. They can actually help improve opens on emails. In fact, a recent study shows that brands using emojis have seen a 56% increase in their unique open rates.

3. Use Power Words Subject lines should inspire readers to take action. So, include power words, that motivate audiences to open and click. Some examples include free, sale, new, % off, exclusive, and many more.

4. Create a Curiosity Gap Who doesn’t like a good tease? Leverage your reader’s curiosity to make them click through from an irresistible headline to the actual content.

5. Less is More Guess what the #1 reason people unsubscribe from emails is? It’s because the sender emails too often. Email frequency is something subscribers care about. A lot. So know your audience and always provide the utmost value in every email.

6. Include One CTA (But Don’t Be Afraid to Include It In Multiple Locations) – Here’s a simple tip that can help increase clicks; if one CTA doesn’t entice clicks, there’s a chance the next one might.

7. Sell Benefits, Not Features Generally speaking, customers care more about how your product or service benefits them or makes their lives better rather than what features your service or product offers. For example, a larger vacuum isn’t better because it’s larger; it’s better because it means the customer can spend less time vacuuming!

8. Avoid Generic Templates That’s all there is to this tip. Keep it fresh and just say no to generic templates.

9. Send Email at the Best Times for Most Opens and Clicks The best time to send an email will differ depending on your audience. But, there’s been plenty of research done to give us some solid starting points.

10. Keep It Brief Every word and sentence in your email should serve a clear purpose. If it doesn’t, then remove it. Don’t bore your readers with the details, less is more!

Are you looking to connect with your audience to promote your brand? Have questions about email marketing or want help with your email marketing? Visit us online at thebarkfirm.com or contact us today to learn more about our services.

Article, Digital Marketing

What Social Platform Is Best For My Business?

 

First, there was MySpace. Remember MySpace? Glittery GIFs met custom backgrounds and your favorite song of the moment playing in the background as your peers rushed to your “My Top Friends” section to see if they made the cut. It was our first introduction to social media (and if you were good at it, your first introduction to basic coding!).

Now, the social media world has exploded into a plethora of platforms with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn all vying for the attention of business owners and consumers alike.

Oh, and 2020 brought us TikTok. How the heck are we supposed to use TikTok?!

As with many other things, more options bring more decisions to make that can lead to more confusion, especially if you are by default a traditional marketer who “just doesn’t get this social media stuff” and doesn’t dabble in it on a personal level.

So stands the question: Which platforms should I utilize for my business?

At The BARK Firm, we emphatically encourage companies to live their brands, know their audiences, and stay true to their messages. In short, know your why.

And in that lies the answer. When you take a deep dive into the message you want to convey, the brand you want to embody, and not just the product you want to sell, you will better understand your customer and know which platforms are most appropriate to reach and connect with them. Here are a few things to consider to help you do just that.

How old is your target demographic?
Here’s a social stat you may or may not have realized: as of July 2020 the average age of Facebook users is 40.5, and the age demographic of 65 years and older is the fastest-growing group to use Facebook. On the other hand, Snapchat has a much younger key demographic of 13 to 29-year olds. When you consider which social accounts to create as a tool for your business, stop and picture yourself as your ideal client or customer, including their age. Then, do a little research to find out where, on average, people their age are spending their time online.

What content resources do I have on hand?
If you have an amazing photographer on staff, show off their talents with a dynamic, beautiful Instagram account that embodies what your company has to offer. Eyecatching drone footage or informational videos? YouTube and Facebook are great contenders. Recipes and inspiring designs? Let others aspire to recreate and/or shop your items on Pinterest. Take inventory of what you have to share, and choose the best outlet for the formats you have on hand.

What is your primary reason for utilizing social media?
If you are a social media user yourself, chances are you have specific reasons you go to specific apps–whether you realize it or not. Think about it! Pinterest: aesthetic and inspiration. Instagram: lifestyle photos and updates from friends. LinkedIn: industry news and job searching. Each platform is designed to share content in a purpose-driven way, so use those purposes to your advantage when considering where to plug your business in.

Where are my competitors?
We don’t endorse the copycat game, but it only makes sense to do a little auditing to find out where your competitors are and consider adding yourself to those platforms. This not only ensures that you are reaching the audiences that they are to create a fair decision-making process for consumers, but it also allows opportunity for friendly collaboration and support between the two of you. Imagine their surprise if you were to share an industry-related post from them on LinkedIn and say something like “Congratulations to our friends at ‘ABC’ for their recent accomplishment!”

That’s what social media was originally designed for, after all: a place for people and businesses to create, share, and collaborate.

So, there you have it. These three tips and a little deep-diving on your part should help to clear up the usefulness of the various social platforms available, and help in choosing which is right for your business. If the waters are still murky, or you simply don’t have the bandwidth to learn and implement these channels, we’d love to help. Give us a call today to learn how our social experts can set up and manage the best channels for your business.

Article, Digital Marketing

How Do Google Ads Help Small Business Grow?

The Power Of Search Intent

Today’s consumer has higher expectations on businesses and shorter attention spans than ever before. This isn’t necessarily a problem, though, as businesses everywhere are adapting to this new tech-savvy consumer.

The gap between a consumer’s problem and a business that is selling a viable solution has grown smaller over the years. This is in large part thanks to innovative technology that bridged this gap for many. Nowadays, when someone has a problem, they simply pull out their smart device and type that problem into a search engine such as Google or Bing. This is called search intent.

The intent of the user is to find a solution to the problem they are having. This could be an answer to a question, a product that fixes their issue, or a service that caters specifically to their situation.

The Power Of Relevancy

The primary reason why small businesses want to be found online is because of search intent. The strategy that plays the biggest part in this is called search relevancy. The idea is a simple one. The more relevant a small business’s products or services are to the user, the more likely that that user will be “converted” from searcher to customer.

There are a lot of considerations for the user who is searching such as price, quality, quantity, brand reputation, etc. But for the small business, the value of becoming relevant to their target consumers is significant.

Lastly, it’s important to mention the costs associated with search engine marketing. Major search networks such as Google and Bing charge based on a cost-per-click model. Which means the businesses are only paying for the traffic they receive. After the user “clicks” on the search ad, it is up to the business to have an efficient digital storefront to convert the user to a customer. It is also up to the business to have an effective strategy in place to keep that customer a loyal one and cater to their future needs.

How The Bark Firm Succeeds At Small Business Search Engine Marketing

The Bark Firm succeeds at helping small businesses get found online by taking this overarching strategy and applying our years of experience to maximize budget, generate site traffic, and convert users to customers. For a more effective and efficient search engine marketing campaign, contact The BARK Firm today!