When faced with difficult times, it can seem like an easy decision to cut advertising to save some extra cash. However, our research suggests that those who stick with marketing through economic recessions produce stronger results once the recession ends. Even with things opening back up, we understand that keeping up with your pre-pandemic advertising budget can be difficult. So we wanted to share five completely free ways to market your business and continue to communicate with your customers so you can come out stronger in the end.
1. Google My Business
If you haven’t already, claiming your business’s Google My Business listing is one of the easiest but most impactful free ways to gain digital traction. This listing allows for better organic search results, and its user experience creates seamless contact between customer and business. Google My Business also houses a lot of information a user might be searching for, especially now, so keeping this information up to date is critical. Things like hours of operation, location, phone number, and more can be found with one local search from a customer.
2. Social Media
In this digital age, it’s easy to tell that social media is a great way to market your business. It’s free and organic nature allows you to craft your brand’s story and connect with your audience on a more personal level. Some companies like Arby’s, Target, and Pop-Tarts have discovered that their social media pages give their brand a “personality” when they otherwise would be just another product or service. If you only utilize one or two platforms now, consider branching out to another popular platforms to reach new audiences.
3. Email Marketing Services
Email marketing is unique because customers deliberately give you their email wanting to learn more about you. This is a group of people who have proven that they want to be included in your updates or are curious to learn more. There are plenty of email platforms that allow you to start up email marketing for free.
Utilizing video communication with your customers is a great way to reach them on a more personal level. This can be through social media with Facebook or Instagram Live or posting on platforms like YouTube. Adding a voice and face to a company can add personality and relatability, making it easier for customers to connect with you!
5. Public Speaking
A great way to continue to get the name of your business out there for minimal cost is signing up for public speaking events. Participating in speaking events is a great way to reach and connect in a personal way with a large audience. This is also an excellent option for those that aren’t the most tech-savvy but still want to get in front of customers.
When times are tough, it might seem like advertising should be the first thing to go. However, research suggests that those who stick with marketing through economic recessions produce stronger results once the recession ends. Even if just utilizing these free marketing options, it’s essential to keep communications up with your customers! For questions please feel free to contact our team.
Here at Digital Hyve, search engine marketing is one of our specialties, so we need to keep up with all the latest trends. Here’s a little update for you:
Google is currently thriving, making a switch over to its new AdWords platform on July 10th, 2018. This platform offers new features such as: Outstream video ads, affiliate location extensions for YouTube, and a feature to save time and write fewer ads (source). As a Certified Google Partner, we are excited to use these new features in the upcoming months to optimize our campaigns for our clients.
Back in 2016, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $26 billion (source). With this purchase, we knew something must be in store. Currently, there is buzz going around that Bing is going to allow advertisers to target specific LinkedIn audiences on their search network. This feature is not yet available, but it has been noted that it won’t be long before advertisers can utilize it.
This is a huge opportunity for Microsoft owned company Bing since B2B marketing to LinkedIn audiences can be used not only on the LinkedIn platform, but also through Bing’s search network with a lower CPC (cost-per-click) to benefit smaller businesses. It will be interesting to see how this will affect Bing, since Google will not have the capability to target LinkedIn audiences any time soon because LinkedIn is Microsoft owned.
The battle between Google and Bing is ongoing with Google continuing to dominate the market. Bing only holds 33% of the search market and 9% worldwide (source). Despite this, the new feature has the potential to boost Bing’s usage. Only time will tell, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on once the feature is released.
Above: A graph showing the share of search queries handled by leading U.S. search engine providers as of April 2018 (Bing falls under Microsoft).
Looking for more digital marketing news and trends? Check out our blog for the latest updates!
The Digital Hyve is a crew of marketing experts that live and breathe digital. Want to work with us? Feel free to reach out and let us show you how we can improve your digital marketing game!
Many of us here at the Hyve are millennials and we spend a lot of time on Instagram (doesn’t everyone?). Instagram is one of the largest social media outlets and is absolutely booming with opportunity for marketers. We’re all constantly served ads by influencers without even noticing it, and so are you. Here’s the thing; marketing is all about building strong and trustworthy relationships with your consumers. Some brands struggle with this, and traditional marketers are constantly wondering how to build these relationships with younger generations.
Let’s start with a question: Why do millennials follow so many influencers? It begins with a hobby or an interest. For example, if you love cars you will probably follow someone who posts car content, or if you like beauty tips you will follow someone posting beauty content. It’s that simple. Once you hit the follow button, you spark a relationship. Influencers are smart, and they post as much content as possible. Being the follower, you get to follow this individual’s day-to-day life, even if they live across the world. Knowing so much about their life can make you feel as if you know them.
BOOM! This is where the marketing comes in. If one of your friends tells you to try this super cool product they bought last week, you will become interested in it and consider buying it (assuming you have the same interests). Same thing goes for the people you follow on Instagram. An influencer can post a live video on their Instagram story about how much they LOVE this new lamp in their living room. They may also add a swipe up link and offer a unique discount code. As the follower, you feel like you have a relationship with this influencer by seeing the inside of their home and their new lamp live on Instagram. You also trust this influencer because they always have super cute home décor and get thousands of likes—so it must be trendy, right? You’re probably sitting back and reading this article right now thinking, “wow I’m a victim of this, I would’ve bought the lamp.” It’s okay, it happens to all of us.
We’re all victims of this whether we realize it or not, and that is why influencer marketing is so efficient. A lot of people may think that Instagram marketing is just a “fad” but that isn’t the case. Instagram has an average of about 500 million active users a day, and the number just keeps growing. Instagram is crowded with influencers eager to promote your product and trust us, IT WORKS!!
Looking for more ways to stay on top of the latest digital marketing trends? Check out some of our link roundups, or feel free to contact us! Our digital marketing experts can help you create a measurable and meaningful brand experience for your customers.
We’ve mentioned before how the popularity of live video will continue to increase in 2018. Now that Facebook’s algorithm update has been put into motion, live video will be an even more important tool for advertisers if they want to continue reaching current and potential customers. Videos will still be an effective way to communicate under the new algorithm that prioritizes content from friends and family, but live video will get even more engagement. According to Mark Zuckerberg, live videos get 6 times more engagement when compared to a traditional video.
With so many changes under way, now is the time to jump on the types of content that are proving to be the most effective if you want to successfully promote your business on Facebook. If you’ve never dabbled in live video before, don’t stress. We’ve provided a link round-up below to help you get started, so you’ll be reaching your target audience in no time.
1) We’ll start you off right at the source with tips from Facebook itself. The first step? Let people know ahead of time when you’re going to be broadcasting your video, so they’ll know when to tune in. Get creative with your posts to build up the anticipation.
2) This Search Engine Journal article begins with a brief history of Facebook Live, so you can get a little bit of background before diving into the best practices. A few pro tips from the article include having a strong internet connection before you go live, and making sure you have a clear purpose that ties into your overall marketing strategy.
3) If you’ve never posted a live video before and you’re feeling intimidated, HubSpot’s ultimate guide is a great resource that provides detailed, step-by-step instructions on everything from setting up and starting your video to ending it.
4)Wordstream’s “ridiculously awesome” guide is a fun, but informative read that covers everything from how to set up your video, why and how you can use it to benefit your business, and handy tips for the best video quality. The section “Why (and how) you Should Use Facebook Live” provides some great inspiration if you’re trying to figure out what your video should be about.
5) Need some convincing on why you should use live video? Sprout Social’s “7 Legitimate Benefits” should give you the extra push you need to take the leap. These include providing unique content and helping you connect directly with your audience. Both of these elements hold even more value now that Facebook has changed up its algorithm.
Looking for more ways to improve your social media marketing strategy? Feel free to contact us! In an industry that’s constantly changing, we stay ahead of the curve, using cutting edge technology and innovative thinking to help you create a meaningful brand experience for your customers.
By now, you’ve likely heard about Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement earlier this month that had advertisers thinking “what does this mean for us?” If you’re still catching up, here’s a quick rundown: Facebook’s new algorithm update will be placing more emphasis on “meaningful social interactions” and making posts from friends and family a priority. While this may be great on a personal level, it will also make it more challenging for organic content from businesses and news sources to be seen. At first glance, this sounds like a death sentence for businesses promoting their brand.
Before you go into panic mode and throw your social media marketing strategy out the window, take a deep breath and step back from the ledge for a moment. We’re here to tell you that all is not lost. While organic reach will continue to decrease, Facebook advertising is here to stay, and will likely only increase in popularity with the new changes. While your strategy may need some tweaking, Facebook is still a useful platform to raise awareness for your brand. Below we’ve listed some ways you can work with the changes, so you can still use Facebook as an effective part of your marketing strategy.
1. Be authentic
Authenticity will be more important than ever with these algorithm changes. The more authentic your content is, the more likely it will resonate with your target audience—encouraging more engagement. The more engagement your post gets, the more likely it is to be seen.
2. Be relevant
Relevancy goes hand in hand with authenticity. Do more research on your target audience to learn what type of content will be the most useful to them. Focusing on relevancy will help you create more meaningful, high-quality content. You also want to focus on your true brand objectives here. Trying to trick users into engaging with your content should never be a part of your marketing strategy in the first place—but it will be especially ineffective now.
3. Utilize live video
Live video is predicted to increase in popularity throughout 2018, but will be even more valuable to brands now. According to Facebook, Live videos get 6 times more interaction than non-Live videos do. More interaction is what will allow your post to be seen. With the new algorithm, the posts that generate more conversations will be likely to show up higher in the news feed. If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to jump on this trend.
4. Consider influencer marketing
Organic, un-paid content from brands will only continue to decrease, and will no longer be an option on its own. However, partnering with influencers could help brands get their message out. Influencers have a strong connection to their audience that results in authentic engagement, so having influencers relevant to your brand talking about your product or service will be more likely to gain traction. Authenticity is the winner here too: When people see someone they trust using your product and enjoying it, they’ll be more likely to give it attention.
5. Use paid advertising
While you’ll still be able to post organic content as a brand, the likelihood of that content being seen on its own is slim. Supplement this content with paid advertising to make the biggest impact, and ensure that your brand’s message is being seen. With organic reach decreasing, Facebook is becoming a platform where you have to “pay to play” for the best results. It’s more important than ever to boost your most valuable content, and utilize sponsored ads.
Looking for more ways to improve your advertising strategy? Feel free to contact us! At Digital Hyve, we have the experts to help you find a social media marketing strategy that will be the best fit for your brand. In an industry that’s constantly evolving, we stay ahead of the curve, using cutting edge technology and innovative thinking to help you create a meaningful brand experience for your customers.
If you’re wondering why your business should have a presence on Instagram, the real question should be why not? This image driven social media platform first launched in 2010, and since then it’s gained a massive following. Currently, there are more than 700 million active monthly users. More than half of these users visit Instagram daily, and 35% of these users say they check it multiple times a day. In other words—if you want to build brand awareness, this platform is a great place to get noticed. Having an account will allow you to tell your brand story in a visual way. You can showcase your products or services, but more importantly you can also give potential customers a look behind the scenes, shining a spotlight on employees and company events.
Authenticity is important to consumers, and Instagram is a great platform to show them why your brand should be trusted. If done correctly, you’ll be able to build a loyal following through both organic posts and advertisements. Below we’ve listed some of the most important tips for a successful marketing strategy. While social media marketing strategies can overlap, it’s important to remember that every platform is different, and will require specific best practices to be successful.
Sign up for an account
If the stats above have convinced you to give Instagram a shot, you’ll have to set up an account first. Be sure to download the app—this a mobile social media platform, and while you can access it on a desktop computer, it won’t be fully functional. Before you begin to post you’ll want to add all the necessary details, including a profile picture and a bio. Both should be chosen with care. You want your profile picture to speak to who you are as a brand, and the same goes for your bio.
Once you have everything set up the way you’d like, you also have the option to switch to a business profile, which will allow you to identify yourself as business and make it easier for your target audience to get in touch with you. However, you won’t be able to switch to this option unless you have a Facebook business page.
Determine a realistic strategy
…and not Dr. Evil’s version of realistic. Every successful marketing campaign is born from a well-thought-out strategy. Don’t just sign up for Instagram without a plan. There are a few questions that you need to ask first.
· What do you want to achieve?
Maybe you’re looking for more brand awareness, or you’re looking for a friendly and authentic way to introduce a new line of products.
· Who is your target audience?
Almost 60% of Instagram users are between 18 and 29 years old, and 33% of internet users between 30 and 49 years old can be found on this platform as well. Think about what types of themes and images will resonate most with your target audience, and will help you reach your goals.
· How will Instagram be integrated with strategies you may have on other social media platforms?
Consider sharing applicable content across your social networks. No matter what direction your strategy takes, it’s important to have a cohesive brand voice. It’s also important to post consistently, while keeping ideal posting times in mind. These times can vary depending on what industry you’re in, so industry research is a must. A content calendar can help you keep track of when you’ll be posting and at what time. This is especially useful if you have a presence on multiple platforms.
Arguably one of the most important tips for a successful marketing strategy is authenticity—and this doesn’t just apply to Instagram. Don’t just constantly showcase your products. Tell your brand story, give behind the scenes looks, and don’t be afraid to have a sense of humor. The more people can relate to your brand, the more likely they are to become a loyal follower.
Create high-quality content
We mentioned it above, but it’s worth saying again: Instagram is a visual, image-heavy social media platform. In other words, if you’re posting blurry images and boring content, you won’t be getting very many followers. It’s important to post high-quality photos and videos. You don’t have to be a professional photographer, but the media you post should provoke interest and effectively capture the feel of your brand. Content also applies to the captions that will go with the media you post. It’s important that the captions are clear, engaging, and not so long that the viewer will lose interest. You should also include hashtags to make your content easier to find, as well as a location if possible. Including geolocations can increase engagement by 79%.
Know your format options
To post high-quality content, it’s helpful to know what you can post. Instagram started with photos and filters, but now there are plenty of options to choose from whether you’re promoting a new product, covering some fun in the office, or featuring an employee. Currently, the media formats you can post include images, videos up to 60 seconds in length, GIFs (more commonly referred to as a Boomerang), and “stories” in the form of images and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
Once you have a regular posting schedule in place and you’ve established a base of followers, you’ll want to consider more ways to promote your brand. This is where advertising comes into play. Advertising for Instagram can be a post on its own, but we’ll give a brief overview. Instagram ads will show up like an organic post would, making them far less annoying than most ads, and increasing the chances that your target audience will engage with them. As with any type of advertising, it’s important to know your ad options and keep a budget in mind since these are paid ads. On Instagram, you can have photo ads, video ads, carousel ads (with multiple images) and story ads.
Another way to “advertise” your brand is by working with influencers. An influencer is an individual on social media who has established credibility in a niche area. There are plenty of influential people on Instagram. If you feel that they would suit your brand, don’t hesitate to reach out asking them if they’d like to feature your product or service on their own feed. In this way, you’ll be able to reach an even wider audience of people, and the bonus is that these potential customers are hearing about your brand from someone they already follow and trust. If done correctly, this can be a real win-win partnership.
Speaking of win-win partnerships…
Are you looking for more ways to ramp up your marketing strategy? Feel free to contact us! We combine cutting edge technology, a true passion for digital marketing, and innovative thinking to bring you measurable results.
Have you already dipped your toes in the social media marketing pool? Or maybe you’re completely new to this corner of the marketing world. If you’re looking to improve your social media marketing strategy, or you’re starting one from scratch, there are 5 questions you should be asking—and finding answers to—before you begin posting all over the internet.
To find success, this is an arena where “let’s just wing it” isn’t going to fly. In fact, you’ll be destined to crash and burn if you take this route. However, with some thoughtful goal setting and planning, you can create a strategy that will lead to major gains, whether you’re looking to increase traffic to your website, or want to engage more directly with your target audience.
1. What are your goals?
Before you do anything, you need to establish what it is you want to get out of your social media presence. What do you want to achieve? To help answer this question, you also need to know what your brand’s overall purpose is. Consider the big picture first, and then come up with specific (and realistic) goals that will get you to the big picture. These goals should be measurable, and all the small actions you take should tie into your brand’s mission.
2. Who is your target audience?
Once you’ve established your social media goals, and what you want to achieve as a brand, it will be much easier to figure out who your target audience is. Do the research—who do you want to reach? What are their pain points, and how do you plan on addressing those? It can be helpful to create “buyer personas” to capture who your ideal customer is. While you may feel a little ridiculous creating a character that seems better suited to a book, this type of research will lead to success in the long run. It will allow you to learn more about your customers, so you can retain the ones you already have, as well as bring in new ones to keep the sales cycle going strong.
3. Which platform(s) will be the most effective?
If you’re on every social media platform, you’ll have way better results, right? Wrong. It may seem like you’re increasing your visibility, but if you’re not where the target audience is, you’re just wasting impressions. Instead, you should have a presence on the platforms where you’re most likely to find your target audience congregating. For example, if you’re a B2B business, LinkedIn should definitely be on your list. Targeting a younger audience? You may want to consider throwing Snapchat in the mix. This is one of the few times where we’ll say be a follower—not a leader. Follow your target audience, wherever they may roam.
4. How do you want to define your brand voice?
A well-established brand voice is a must. It sets the tone of your brand, and directly affects how you’re perceived by the public. Whatever that voice may be, you want it to be consistent. The less consistent it is, the harder it will be for people to figure out exactly what it is you’re all about—and more importantly, what you’re offering them. When it comes to the voice and tone of the content you’re posting, you should also be thinking about how you want to make your audience feel, whether it’s happy, motivated, empowered or all three. No matter what message your content conveys, it should always serve the purpose of strengthening your brand.
5. What type of content do you want to be posting?
Content can come in many forms. Text, video, and images can all be effective if they’re used correctly. When you’ve nailed down your brand voice and the tone you want your content to have, the next step is figuring out which types of content will have the biggest impact on your target audience. Often, it’s the social media platform itself that will determine the best types of content to use. For example, if you’re on Instagram and have crafted posts that are all text and no image…well, you’re going to run into a major problem since Instagram is all image-based. Moral of the story? Get to know a social media platform before planning out all your content. No matter what you’re posting though, the topics and the messaging should always support your brand.
Looking for more of the latest and greatest from the digital marketing world? Keep reading our blog, or feel free to contact us! It may come as a surprise, but digital marketing strategy is one of our favorite things to talk about.
Syracuse, New York, January 3, 2017 — Byrne Dairy announced today that Jeff Knauss has been appointed to Byrne Dairy’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. An award-winning entrepreneur, Knauss has devoted his career to helping businesses, both large and small, utilize the power of traditional and digital marketing to grow their sales. He has been named to such notable lists as Central New York’s 40 Under Forty.
“We are excited to have a distinguished business and community leader join Byrne Dairy’s Board of Directors,” said Fred Sadeghi, CEO and President of Byrne Dairy. “His marketing experience and business perspective will influence Byrne Dairy’s growth and continued leadership in the dairy industry. Jeff’s experience is coupled with his infectious energy and curiosity, which is welcomed into the Byrne Dairy culture.”
“I am absolutely thrilled to join Byrne Dairy’s Board of Directors,” said Knauss. “Growing up in the smaller communities of Phelps and Clifton Springs, Byrne Dairy was a staple for my friends and family. I remember their ice cream being a lifesaver in the summer! To have the opportunity to join the organization and help grow the Byrne Dairy brand both locally and nationally is truly an honor. I look forward to working with Fred and the Byrne family in expanding their amazing product lines of Byrne Dairy and Byrne Hollow Farms.”
Knauss held a progression of leadership roles in the advertising industry, beginning in Rochester, where he was an Account Executive for the ABC and CW affiliates. He moved to Syracuse after accepting the Local Sales Manager position at the NBC, CBS, and CW affiliates locally. Knauss then founded Digital Hyve, a full-service digital marketing agency with his business partner, Jake Tanner. He led Digital Hyve’s growth, which has become one of the top 10% fastest growing Google Partner agencies nationwide and will be featured in the 2017 Inc. 500, an annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States. They have offices in Syracuse and Rochester, with plans for further expansion.
Knauss also currently serves on the board of directors for the Food Bank of Central New York.
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About Byrne Dairy: Byrne Dairy is a fourth generation, family-owned producer and distributor of Greek yogurt, conventional yogurt, sour cream, milk, cream, ice cream and a variety of other dairy products. Based in Central New York, with its abundant supply of high quality milk, Byrne Dairy works with more than 250 local family farms. In addition to producing an array of quality products, Byrne Dairy also operates 59 convenience stores throughout Upstate New York, the first of which opened in Central Square, NY in 1954.
Hashtags have quickly become a part of the Internet zeitgeist. Not only are they popular online, but they’re also discussed offline regularly. Have you watched any TV lately? Perhaps it was a talk show host engaging the audience. Maybe a program like the Walking Dead providing a hashtag to continue the dialog with their audience. Either way, hashtags are an important way that we communicate in today’s world.
What we used to call “pound” is no longer — it’s a hashtag or nothing at all. The only time you’re likely to hear that phrase is if you’re calling into an automated phone system. “When done, press the pound key to continue.”
But what does this mean for marketing? We all know to use hashtags on the appropriate channels… but what are the appropriate channels? How do we, as business folk, use them to the best of our ability and for the most success? Even better — is there truly a reason why we need to kowtow to our new tic-tac-toe grid overlord?
First, let’s look at where hashtags work. Notably, two different social media platforms utilize hashtags prominently: Instagram and Twitter. Both social networks are commonly focused on (and with good reason), but not every business may utilize either network in the same way.
Twitter originally popularized hashtags, and ironically it’s also where hashtags matter the most. BothTwitterandInstagramhave available analytics tools that are worth looking at.
Continuing working backwards from the title, let’s now look at why hashtag strategies are so important. Here are just a few reasons why your brand can benefit from using hashtags in your marketing strategies:
Hashtags build community, and brands benefit from a community atmosphere. We’ve drilled it into your heads by now, but remember more than anything else: social media is about being social. When you use hashtags, you connect with others on an even online playing field.
They also give your content visibility. Want to attach yourself to a movement? Use a hashtag and see how fast people find your tweets or posts (though more on this later). Hashtags are visibility go-tos for brands using social media, and yours should be doing the same.
There’s also a savvy aspect to using hashtags. As the saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Brand accounts that aren’t utilizing a social media site in the way it was intended look dated and bland.
Hashtags can also establish your brand meaning. Think about a potential tweet you could send: what buzzwords in that tweet help to highlight what your brand is about? #Makeup? #Marketing? #Milk? Your brand, your buzzwords.
We’re finally to the meat of the issue — you know where you use hashtags, you know why to use them, so now we can talk real business. Hashtag strategies come with some simply 101 rules that should always be followed:
First, never initiate a hashtag strategy half-cocked. Remember those above analytics tools? Use them. See what hashtags are trending, which buzzword hashtags get the most action, and THEN go about crafting your strategy.
Never take a strategy for granted. Once you enact a strategy, you have to follow through with analytics yet again. Thankfully Twitter has free analytics tools, but it’s never a bad idea to have your own analytics secret weapon aside from site features.
Focus hashtags around something that you really want to push. It can be hard to start a trending topic or hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, but it is possible with the right amount of work.