user generated content

Sourcing User Generated Content

One source of content generation you may not have tapped into yet is user-generated content. Content marketing is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy. However, it can take a lot of resources to produce your own content on a regular basis. Even if you’ve managed to regularly generate high-quality content, you should look for other ways to create new content for variety’s sake, such as high quality user generated content.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content refers to content created by consumers and not brands. Such content includes videos, pictures, reviews, articles, and more. For instance, if a consumer takes a picture of themselves using your product and posts it on Instagram, that’s user-generated content. The following are just a few of the benefits of user-generated content:

  • Free publicity

Your audience is essentially promoting your brand on your behalf. As a result, user-generated content can help increase brand awareness.

  • Free content

Creating your own content requires a lot of resources. User-generated content requires none — your audience is creating the content for you. While you don’t own it, you can share it and reap the benefits of it.

  • Positive word of mouth

Customers trust other customers more than they trust brands. Positive user-generated content can, therefore, help to boost your brand reputation by creating trust.

How To Source Usable Generated-Content

Considering how beneficial this free content can be, you’ll want to do everything you can to encourage it. However, the biggest challenge lies in the lack of control you have over the content. You can’t control the message, format, or quality, after all. But there are a few ways that you can guide your audience to create the content that will benefit you most. The following are a few tips on how to source high-quality user-generated content:

  • Encourage 

Don’t just wait for your audience to create content relevant to your brand. You need to encourage it. For instance, hold a contest on social media in which users vote on the best submission. You can then give the winner a prize. There are many ways that you can encourage content generation.

Utilize Marketing Audiences on Pinterest Today

  • Provide clear guidelines

If you’re looking for a specific type of content, then you need to provide guidelines. For example, if you want user reviews, consider providing a basic review format. Such a format could list three broad questions that users can answer in order to generate a review.

  • Provide content creation tips

Your audience does not consist of professional content creators. As such, provide tips that they can use to create higher quality content. For instance, if you’re holding a video creation contest on YouTube or on Instagram, provide your users with a list of basic filming tips. Such tips can help cut down on the amount of poor quality content that you might receive.

  • Offer an example

If you’re looking for a specific type of content, then provide an example. When users see what you’re looking for, it will help them create the kind of content you want. For instance, if you’re hosting a picture taking contest, upload a few pictures of your own that would be considered exceptional examples. By providing an example, you also make sure that users understand your instructions more clearly.

  • Identify the channel

Make sure that your audience knows where to send it. The last thing you want is users posting their content on different platforms or sending it to you via different channels. If you’re promoting a contest, specify what platform they should post to or what hashtag they should use. Provide detailed instructions on how to submit content. By making it clear what channel you’re using, it will be easier for you to track and organize user-generated content.

  • Open a line of communication

Provide a channel through which your audience can contact you. This channel should be specifically for users who are creating content. You can do this by providing a specific support email address, a phone number, or a page they can DM on social media.

  • Monitor performance

Track how the content users create for your brand is performing. By doing so, you can identify what types are the most effective. You can then adjust your guidelines and instructions to encourage the creation of that type of content.

Enhance your Strategy Today

User-generated content can go a long way towards boosting brand trust. Not to mention that it’s a great way to expand your content marketing strategy. As such, make sure that you encourage the creation of high-quality user content. You can do this by providing your audience with general guidance and encouragement to drive effective user-generated content creation.

25 Website Must Haves
pinterest marketing

Utilize Marketing Audiences on Pinterest Today

pinterest marketingPinterest is a valuable marketing tool, as 88% of pinners purchase something they have pinned, and 49% purchase 5 or more products they have pinned. Despite its effectiveness as a marketing tool, only 28% of marketers are already using Pinterest, so get ahead of the competition and start using this visual platform today.

Who’s Using Pinterest?

Pinterest has over 335 million  worldwide users and 88 million users from the United States. With over 200 billion Pinterest pins and 4 billion boards, users save 2 million shopping pins on boards daily. 71% of Pinterest users are female. In the United states, 40% of dads use Pinterest, and 80% of moms. The median age of Pinterest users is 40, however most active “Pinners” are below 40 years old. Gen Z adults and millennials are the most dedicated users, however Gen X users increased daily use by 10% from 2018 to 2019.

30 Ways to Boost Instagram Engagement and Following

Marketing on Pinterest: Homebuilding, Crafts, Senior Living, Real Estate, CPG, and more

Two thirds of pins represent brands and products, and 50% of users have made a purchase after seeing a promoted pin.  According to Mintel’s February 2020 Arts and Crafts Consumer Report, Pinterest is largely used to spread creativity through DIY crafts, creating a valuable marketing opportunity for craft and home decorating companies. Pinterest is also a valuable tool for homebuilders to reach consumers through typing in keywords linked to related visual boards of ideas and products. Additionally, Pinterest is a marketing tool to promote services as well, such as Senior living facilities. A platform that provides a unique way to visually display information, Pinterest provides a way for your brand to share health and caregiver related articles, exercise routines for seniors, home health care products, images from your service’s website, and even healthy recipes. As nearly 30% of Pinterest users have a 6-figure income, Pinterest is a  sufficient platform for real estate companies to reach their target audiences. In a study of 9 million consumers, consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketing research shows that Pinterest households were 29% more likely to try a new product within the first 10 months of launch than non-Pinner households, and the Pinner “trial date” was 40% higher in the first 30 days of launch than non-Pinners. Experts say the study shows that people on Pinterest are more likely to try new CPG products. Overall, 75% of Pinners say they are “very interested” in new products compared to 55% with the same level of interest on other digital platforms.

Click here to learn more about social media from our FREE Social Prospecting Workbook

30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips

 

social media trends 1

TikTok Advertising Strategies Are Becoming More Common

Most businesses these days are using at least one or two social media channels to market their brand. However, new social channels emerge every year, many of which are worth your attention. Take TikTok for example. Although initially dismissed by most as another social media platform for teens, more businesses are taking notice. This is because they are beginning to realize that TikTok is attracting more adult users every day. As such, TikTok advertising is well worth considering.

What is TikTok?

TikTok started off as a platform on which users could upload videos of themselves lip-synching to music videos. These videos were no more than 15 seconds long. In a way, they were like a more niche-based version of the now-defunct Vine social platform. As such, it was no surprise that the platform attracted a younger audience. However, older users began taking advantage of TikTok’s audience to showcase themselves in different ways. For example, comedians would upload short videos of stand-up routines. Another example is of skateboarders, who would upload tricks that they landed. Soon, TikTok allowed its users to upload videos up to 60 seconds long.

Who Uses TikTok?

TikTok still has a userbase that leans on the younger side with more than 66 percent of its users under the age of 30. However, if you have a younger target audience, then TikTok is very much worth your time. This is especially true when you consider the fact that more parents are using TikTok on a daily basis (it’s estimated that 41 percent of dads have used TikTok). Not to mention that TikTok currently has over six million users in the U.S. alone.

Video Marketing Ideas: Using Storytelling in Social Media

How Can You Leverage TikTok To Market Your Brand?

If your buyer personas match the target audience of TikTok, then you may be curious as to how you can use the platform to your advantage. The following are just a few effective tactics when it comes to TikTok advertising:

  • User-generated content

TikTok is a great platform for encouraging user-generated content. Instagram is the other social channel where user-generated content is incredibly effective. One of the reasons user-generated content is so successful on both of these channels is because it encourages active audience engagement. Not only will they be engaged with your brand, but they will also generate content that helps promote your brand. In a sense, you’ll be getting free advertising. Users are more likely to participate using TikTok as well due to the platform’s focus on video creation.

  • TikTok challenges

One of the reasons why TikTok’s popularity has exploded over recent years is due to the challenges that users engage in. For example, one type of challenge involves doing a specific dance move or physical challenge (such as taking off your shirt while doing a wall stand). Many of these challenges go viral organically, but businesses have begun creating their own challenges in an effort to engage more users. When creating a challenge, make sure to use a hashtag along with an appropriate title. Doing so ensures that the challenge has a better chance of being found and shared.

  • Influencer marketing

Just like Instagram, TikTok is home to users with enormous followings. As such, you should consider influencer marketing. Influencer marketing involves building a relationship with someone on the platform with a large influence (number of followers). As long as your brand is relevant to them, they will be able to influence their followers’ awareness and feelings about your brand. For example, if you create a challenge, you can get it exposure by having an influencer take part in that challenge. They can also encourage their followers to do the same.

  • TikTok’s advertising platform

Like other social platforms, TikTok does have its own advertising platform that you can use. Some of the TikTok advertising options include in-feed videos, brand takeover ads, branded AR content, and more. TikTok can even help assist with your influencer marketing campaign via its customer influence package. Additionally, you will can customize your targeting options using website traffic, ad engagement, app activity, or customer contact data.

Begin Integrating TikTok Advertising As Part Of Your Social Marketing Strategy

Although TikTok has a younger user-base, it is continuing to grow, attracting more and more older users. As such, it’s worth considering TikTok advertising, especially if any of your buyer personas match with TikTok’s current audience.

 

social media marketing
Google ads credit

How the Covid-19 Relief Google Ads Credit Program Works

Google has responded to Covid-19 globally by giving qualified small and medium sized businesses $340 million in free Google ads credit. This includes small and medium sized businesses who advertised with Google Ads directly through Google and/or a digital marketing agency (like Stevens and Tate).

google ads credit

Eligibility and Amount Given:

In order to qualify for the Google Ads Credit Program, a small or medium sized business must have spent money with a Google Ads account in 10 of 12 months in the year 2019, and in January and/or February of the year 2020.

Each eligible customer will receive one ad credit, even if that customer advertises with more than one account. The maximum U.S. Dollars the free ad would be worth is $1,000, and the amount varies by factors including: amount spent on Google Ads in the past, country billing address, and currency.

How to View your Google Ad Credit:

Google Ad credits have launched in Australia, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States. There is no application process; the Google ad credits are automatically applied. Additionally, qualified customers cannot transfer, split, or refund their Google ad credits. Qualified accounts will receive a notification email. The applied credit appears on the Google Ads account by clicking “Tools” > “Billing” > “Promotion”. The Google ad amount appears on the “Transactions” page. The free ad credit expires on December 31, 2020.

Helpful Resources for your Business During This Time of Uncertainty:

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earned media vs paid media

Understanding the Difference Between Earned Media vs. Paid Media And Embracing The PESO Model

When it comes to digital marketing, there are four main types of media. The first, owned media, is relatively obvious. Owned media refers to the media that you own, such as your website, your blog, or your social media pages. Then there’s paid media, which often comes to mind first. However, you could argue that earned media is just as important. The following is a breakdown of earned media vs paid media as well as the importance of following the PESO model, which implements all forms of media for a more balanced digital marketing strategy.

Earned Media vs Paid Media

Paid media consists of the marketing elements that you pay for. Traditionally, paid media consisted of things like TV commercials and magazine ads. However, these days, they also include PPC (per-per-click) ads, social media ads, and display ads. To get the most out of your paid media, you have to plan your marketing strategy carefully and make sure that you’re targeting the right audience. However, paid media can be quite effective at helping to increase brand exposure and web traffic. earned media vs paid media

Earned media is essentially a form of marketing that you do not pay for and do not own. Customers and brand advocates generate earned media. In a way, it’s like a digital form of “word-of-mouth.” Earned media can include having reviews written by customers as well as professional product review sites or having news stories published about your company. Any kind of publicity that you didn’t pay for is earned media. Earned media is an excellent way to increase brand recognition even though you don’t have direct control over it; however, earned media is also free.

What Is The PESO Model?

Earned media and paid media are not the only types of media you should be concerned with. Owned media, which includes marketing elements that you have direct ownership and full control over (such as your website and your business blog) as well as shared media, which is the media you earn through social media engagement (shares, likes, and comments), both play an important part in helping to grow your brand. The mistake many businesses make is to focus more on one type of media than the other.

Similar Article: Using The Right Media Mix During Each Stage Of The Buyer’s Journeys

Gini Dietrich stressed the importance of integrating all four forms of media with her PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model. By implementing the PESO model, you integrate all four forms of media to strengthen your ability to attract leads and convert customers. For example, the use of paid media and shared media can help draw the attention of prospects. Earned media helps to establish the credibility of your brand so that those prospects trust you. Owned media, such as eBooks or whitepapers, help showcase the value of your brand.

While knowing the difference between earned media vs. paid media is important, it’s also important that you don’t value paid media over earned media or vice versa. They, along with shared media and owned media, play an important part in helping to grow your brand. Finding the right balance can take some time, but as long as you keep the PESO model in mind as you create your marketing strategy, you’ll end up having a more balanced and effective marketing campaign.

social media marketing
media mix

How To Use Media Mix When Marketing To Your Audience’s Buyer’s Journeys

Some marketers make the mistake of trying to reach as many people as possible with their content. The problem with this is that your pushing information to people who are either not ready to receive it or not interested all together. Without tailoring your content to your specific audience at their buying stage and delivering it to the platforms where they actually consume messages you’re missing out on a huge conversion opportunity.

Why Use Mix Media Marketing

Mix media marketing is the process of utilizing niche marketing to get granular with your messaging. Depending on your audience and their buying stage different platforms and messages will reach better than others. Email typically converts those at the middle or bottom of the funnel while social media is great to reach those at the top of the funnel. Let’s take a closer look at the different stages in the buyer’s journey and which mix media marketing strategies work best.

[Read About Using the Buyer’s Journey to Create Great Content]

Awareness Stage

The awareness stage is at the very top of the funnel and is a great time to just put your brand out there. At this point the buyer has a problem that needs to be solved but they might not even be fully aware of the problem or that there is a solution. During this stage educational content and strong SEO is key. You want to be found when users are searching and use keywords that resonate with their pain points.

Best types of mix media marketing at this stage:

  • Blogs- with keywords focused on relevant topics to your audience
  • PPC and SEO to drive traffic to your site
  • Mass Media- TV, Radio, to get your brand name out there

Consideration

During this stage the buyer is aware they have a problem and is actively looking for a solution. You need to show your target audience that you can deliver the solutions they need and are a trusted source. You’ll want to get more granular at this stage and really tailor your messages to their needs. You can use segmented email messages that push buyers through the funnel.

Best types of mix media marketing at this stage:

  • Targeted emails that trigger actions such as signing up for a webinar, downloading content, or reading a case study

Decision Making Stage

If your audience has made it this far in the buyers journey than you are one of the companies they are considering. Now is the time to really drive home why you’re better than the competition and develop an emotional connection.

Best types of mix media marketing at this stage:

  • Retargeting- reconnect with those who have visited your site to keep your brand fresh in their mind using retargeting ads or email
  • One to one connections- this is the why us part. Demos, personal emails, phone calls, and other follow-ups that show your audience you’re there for them will go far to push your buyers through the last step before converting

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

B2B website

Three Videos Every B2B Website Should Have

Research shows that relevant, compelling content is a key ingredient for making your website stand out. While some websites may have great landing pages, they may lack other types of content. If you want your B2B website to beat the competition and increase sales, you need to include video content.

Visual is rapidly becoming the most effective technique in the web marketing mix. Video content can increase your online traffic by more than 40%, as it adds personality, digestibility, and context to your website. Here are three types of video you should include in your website in order to increase search engine visibility.

1. Customer case studies

A great way to market your business is through word-of-mouth from satisfied customers or business associates. Referrals enhance the element of trust that potential clients are looking for in a business. To create a case study video, request some of your satisfied customers to create a case study video, where they can describe the services or products that you offer and express their satisfaction. A case study video could convince your undecided leads that your business is the right fit for them.

[Read about Integrating Story Branding With Your B2B Marketing Strategy]

2. Your team in action

You can increase your prospects by visually portraying how your company performs a service. Potential clients want to know if you have the resources and the expertise to meet their expectations, and you can prove this via video. If you provide manufacturing services, for example, you can capture how specific machinery works. If you’re a marketing agency, you can post a video demonstrating how your team goes from brainstorming ideas to producing your final product. For potential clients, the sight of your employees in action offers a glimpse inside your business.

3. Instructional videos or tutorials

One way to demonstrate your expertise to potential customers is to produce instructional content. Create visual cues on how to carry out a certain service related to what your business does for other businesses. For example, if your company provides home decoration services, you can produce a video explaining the remodeling process. You can demonstrate how your crew handles equipment for the job, as well as “before and after” images of a remodeled house.

 

Every B2B website should include compelling video content to capture the interest of prospective business partners. These days, the majority of online users would rather watch videos than read about a product or service. Capitalize on this powerful but affordable medium in order to drive leads and increase sales.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

media mix

Beacon Marketing: Bringing Personalized Marketing To Retail Outlets

One of your customers is browsing your store and gets an alert on her phone. She glances at the screen and her face lights up. She looks up at the nearest employee with a huge smile on her face. The customer just received a customized alert on her phone offering a 20% discount, if she makes a purchase in your store today.

Was that a big coincidence? Nope. It was beacon marketing.

What is Beacon Marketing?

More and more consumers rely on their mobile devices to search for products and to do price comparisons. They often download their favorite brands’ apps to get special offers and other incentives. This kind of marketing takes personalized marketing to another level.

The beacons are small, battery-powered devices, that can be installed throughout any physical location. The beacons emit a special Bluetooth signal known as a BLE. Within a certain range, mobile devices can pick up the BLE signal and receive push notifications. Those notifications allow you to interact with your customers in new and different ways.

Some beacon setups currently require consumers to have the brand/store app installed to receive these notifications. However, Twitter has paired with beacon start-up, Swirl. They are developing ways of bypassing the app requirement and using Twitter instead. Instead of requiring a consumer to install an app, all that person needs to do is follow the brand on Twitter.

Does It Really Work?

Yes.

More than 50% of the top 100 brands already use beacons within their physical stores, with great success. Macy’s implemented these signaling devices throughout their chain after conducting a hugely successful trial run over a Christmas season.

The beauty of these devices is that they can be used in businesses of various sizes and in different industries. For example, casinos can engage their guests from the moment they walk through the door. If a VIP walks through the door, the casino can send a welcome and have a staff member waiting in the VIP room with the customer’s favorite drink in hand. Someone in the slots area can receive a special offer to come visit the roulette tables. Other guests can receive discount offers for dining and entertainment.

Now, the success a business has with beacon marketing depends on what value you offer to the customer. This form of marketing enhances the way your business can interact and engage with your customers. Offering tips, perks, and discounts are all effective ways to provide value to consumers.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Brick-and-mortar stores continue to fight the pressure of online competitors. Competing on price is difficult with the overhead costs of running a physical location. To remain competitive, stores have to find new ways to differentiate themselves from the online competition.

Using beacons to interact with customers opens up new opportunities to engage consumers and entice them to make in-store purchases. That makes beacon marketing a promising channel for the long-term success of brick-and-mortar stores.

Download Our White Paper Guide To Learn How To Perfect Buyer Personas For Your Business

targeted marketing

Three Ways To Use Targeted Marketing To Reach Qualified Prospects

Imagine, if you will, walking out of a model home and before you know it…you see an ad for a builder just down the street appear on your cell phone. You think to yourself, “Hmmm…coincidence?” It’s not. With targeted marketing, you can pinpoint potential customers down to an address where they have visited.

Targeted marketing is nothing new. Agencies and companies have been doing it for years. First through direct mail, then via email, using data points such as zip code, gender, household income, marital status, and age. But now, we have the ability to narrow our scope even more to truly reach those most qualified to purchase.

Niche Marketing Through Social Media

Recently, a new client came to Stevens & Tate needing to attract more students to its private school. We discovered several factors that determined whether parents chose to send their children to this school. They could afford it. It was close to their home or work. And it provided the type of education they wanted for their child. To reach this very specific audience, we advertised on social media. Social media sites such as Facebook gather a great deal of information about their users from information the users provide themselves. These sites also monitor behavior patterns. As a result, we were able to do niche marketing, advertising to select neighborhoods around the school and in local employment corridors. And we focused our message on the benefits this private education offered. After the first month, the school recorded an increase in attendees to the parent information sessions.

Learn more about Effective Marketing Strategies For A Changing Economy.

Targeted Marketing On Radio? Yes.

One of Stevens & Tate’s clients needed to build ticket sales for its classical music concerts. After researching the prior season’s data, we discovered that the majority of concertgoers came from a 20-minute or less drive of the venue. So we incorporated online radio into the media mix to aim our message at those who would have an affinity for the brand. The beauty of this targeted marketing plan was that we could reach listeners with a preference for classical music. We were able to narrow down our audience not only to those who lived in a specified geographic area but also to those who exhibited classical music listening habits. The result was a 25 percent increase in year-over-year show attendance.

Hyperlocal Marketing Pinpoints Your Audience

For a Chicagoland homebuilder with a new property in the city, we wanted to reach home shoppers living near the neighborhood as well as those holding certain job titles. Rather than choose a medium to advertise on, we chose a very small group of people to reach out to. Using a digital hyperlocal marketing campaign, we were able to serve ads to a very niche market segment—including those who had recently used a home finder app. We served ads to these individuals multiple times via multiple vehicles including desktop, mobile and in-app ads; emails; social media newsfeeds; and native content based on online search history. Since launching the program, sales at the community have increased 50 percent.

These are just a few examples of the power of a targeted marketing campaign. And new digital technologies are being unveiled all the time. At Stevens & Tate, we partner with multiple media sources to devise just the right targeted marketing campaign for each of our clients. If you are looking for an agency that can help you move from a shotgun to a rifle approach to marketing, contact Stevens & Tate and see if we are a fit.

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ingredient branding

Brand Packaging is Becoming the Media of the Future

Jack Neff | Advertising Age | March 7, 2016

Consumers may keep finding ways to avoid ads, and retailers are making it harder for brands to get displays into stores. But packaged-goods marketers have much more control over one medium: their own packages. Thanks to technological advances, those packages are likely to morph into digital devices that can serve as hubs for marketing programs in the years ahead.

Of course, consumer packaged-goods marketers have been toying with smart packages of a sort since the 1960s, when Post printed records from the Beach Boys and Monkees on cereal boxes. The new generation of such ideas includes McDonald’s recent Happy Meal boxes in Sweden that convert into virtual reality headsets for kids to view videos. Read more