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A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Paid Advertising: Part 1
Why is Paid Advertising on Social Media Necessary?

If you’re a business owner or in the field of marketing or advertising, and you’re new to the world of social media paid advertising, this article is for you.

With more than 2 billion users across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, social media has seen an unprecedented explosion in growth the past decade. Creating content that stands out from the clutter and capturing enough attention and interest to be shared by multiple people is the hardest challenge for any social media marketer.

Social media has almost infinite potential for reaching specific, targeted audiences. At this point, many marketers have already conceded to the fact that “boosting” a post or investing in paid ads is really the only way to get people to see your content outside of a handful of dedicated followers to your profile.

Take a Deep Breath

Considering all the options available for different ad types on different platforms, and the various targeting measures that can be employed to reach certain audiences, some brands can feel understandably overwhelmed. Not knowing where to begin or what elements are needed to successfully launch a paid ad on social media is one of the primary reasons I decided to write this blog.

It’s easy to feel intimidated by the process of creating a paid ad on social media. For most marketers out there, you’re playing with other people’s money, which can add a layer of stress to the ad creation process. Knowing what components you’ll need beforehand and what kind of research you can do to prepare will work wonders for your confidence, not to mention help you achieve the results you’re hoping to get out of your campaign. In part 1 of this series on paid advertising, I will discuss the different objectives and targeting criteria you can utilize for your ad.

What You’ll Need to Create an Ad

First off, it’s important to note that the Ads Manager platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, are fundamentally the same. All ad creation platforms will first ask you to select an objective for the campaign, then ask you to input the audience targeting criteria, followed by information regarding ad placement, schedule, and budget, and finally, end with the ad creative (copy and image).

1. Different Ad Objectives

What sorts of objectives can you achieve with paid advertising?

  • Brand Awareness: Cast a wide net and get the word out about your brand or product with ads that are optimized for reach and impressions
  • Website Traffic: refer social media users to your website
  • Lead Generation: Capture emails and other useful contact information that can be useful for remarketing purposes later
  • App installations: Drive traffic to either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to encourage downloads of your app
  • Conversions: Sell a product either directly in social media, or by referring them to a checkout page

2. Selecting Your Target Audience

Once you’ve decided what objective you’re looking to achieve, the next and arguably most important step is selecting targeting criteria. The performance of your ad hinges on many factors, but aside from having stellar visuals and a catchy tagline, you’ll need to ensure your ad is reaching the people who would be most interested in interacting with it. The best way to approach this is to develop what’s known as an Audience Persona, which contains the following elements:

  • Location(s): Where in the world do your customers live?
  • Age range: How old are your customers?
  • Gender: Male, female, or both.
  • Marital status and family characteristics: Are your customers typically married? Have children?
  • Income: How much money does your customer make in a year? How much disposable income do you believe your customers possess?
  • Education: What level of education does your average customer possess?
  • Interests & Hobbies: What sorts of things do your customers do for fun or to simply pass the time?

Isolating and targeting a specific audience helps to improve what Facebook calls the “Relevance Score” of your ad. Relevance is a measure of how appropriate the message is to the target audience, as well as the strength of the connection between the ad copy and the objective/destination of the ad. The topic of ad relevance will be discussed in more detail in a future blog post.

3. Researching Your Audience

Here’s a tip: when conducting research for the purposes of creating an Audience Persona, try using Facebook Audience Insights. An extremely handy online tool that lets you select a location and see a demographic breakdown of all the Facebook users in that area. You can build your Audience Persona around identifying the most popular characteristics of the social media users in your target location.

In the next blog, I will delve into different budget strategies and the difference between automatic and custom bidding. I will also look at different ad placements, as well as downsides and benefits of each. Finally, I will offer up some tips on ad creative and visuals that will help improve your ad’s reach and click-through rate.

Need Help?

Are you considering launching your own social media paid advertising campaign, but need a little more assistance with developing a strategy? If you lack the experience or technical know-how to execute your campaign, you’re in luck. Brand & Mortar is here to help. Contact us to set up a consultation.

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To read the article on the Brand & Mortar website, click here.

Posted in – Blogging & Marketing & Social Media & Strategy

The 6 “STEPPS” to Creating Digital Content that Goes Viral

A few weeks back, Connor, a Brand & Mortar colleague, introduced me to a book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. Connor’s recommendations—whether they’re lunch options, video games, or craft beer—are usually pretty solid. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet. So, when he told me about a marketing book that he swore would alter my preconceived notions about online advertising, I took his endorsement to heart. Little did I know that Connor’s persuasive word-of-mouth recommendation would have a lot to do with what I was about to read.

Blendtec: A Case Study

Have you ever watched one of these videos on YouTube? At one point or another, you’ve probably stumbled across a Will it Blend? video while killing time. The series, created by Blendtec in 2006 to promote their Ultra High Speed Motor technology, was the brainchild of founder Tom Dickson and marketing director George Wright. The pair were able to turn a few hundred dollars into a series of simple, yet ridiculously entertaining videos that became a viral sensation by simply showcasing the product’s most important feature: the ability to turn any solid object into a pile of crumbs and dust.

Jonah Berger, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and an expert on word of mouth, viral marketing, social influence, and trends, uses the Will it Blend? story to highlight the fact that even mundane objects, like a blender, can achieve viral attention on the internet. Sure, some cool and flashy things better lend themselves to internet buzz generation, like big budget Hollywood movies or an attractive new sports car. But, as Berger argues, that doesn’t mean simpler, less extravagant products can’t earn the same amount of buzz.

The great equalizer is content.

Content is the Key

One of Berger’s core tenets when it comes to social media is that the attention and engagement your content achieves on Facebook or Twitter, for example, is only as good as the amount of word-of-mouth recommendations your content receives in the real world. Any product being sold on the internet can achieve viral status, if, according to Berger, you adhere to his 6 “STEPPS.”

How do you create content that people feel deeply compelled to share with others? Berger provides us with an actual recipe:

“Products or ideas that contain Social Currency, and are Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valuable, and are wrapped up in a Story.”

This statement is difficult to understand until you have a basic grasp of the 6 contagious elements that Berger identifies. Below, I provide a quick breakdown of what each of the 6 elements entails.

STEP #1: Social Currency – Appearances Matter

Give your product—and its owner—social status by making it and those who talk about it appear remarkable (interesting, exclusive, distinctive). A good example of this is a trendy Toronto bar that is deliberately kept hidden and secret, making those who do frequent the establishment part of an exclusive, elite group of people.

STEP #2: Triggers – Top of the Mind, Tip of the Tongue

Associate your product with ideas and activities in people’s lives. Think of it this way: the Mars candy company could monopolize on a recent space shuttle launch or a mission to the moon by purchasing ads to coincide with the event’s coverage in the news.

STEP #3: Emotion – When We Care, We Share

Content should attempt to evoke awe—the sense of wonder and amazement that occurs when someone is inspired by great knowledge, beauty, or sublimity. It’s hard not to want to buy your girlfriend a diamond necklace every time you see a De Beers ‘Diamonds are Forever’ ad.

STEP #4: Public – Monkey See, Monkey Do

Make adoption and use publicly visible and reproducible. This one might be the most obvious of the steps, but arguably one of the most important. Remember how popular the yellow Nike Livestrong bracelets were? And how many gentlemen do you know who participate in Movember by growing their moustaches?

STEP #5: Practical Value – News You Can Use

Your content should be useful and short, straightforward, and simple enough for you or anyone to share. How-to and Do-it-yourself videos have a long history of achieving great exposure on YouTube, as well as “listicle” articles posted on BuzzFeed.

STEP #6: Stories – Once Upon a Time…

Your content should be wrapped up in a shareable story or narrative. Your product must be an integral part of the story to ensure that people remember it, even if they forget about the product itself, like Chipotle’s Back to the Start campaign.

Producing share worthy content is not an exact science. But keep these 6 elements in mind the next time you create content for your company or clients. Including some or all of these elements won’t necessarily guarantee your message will catch on, but it should improve your chances that content will stick in the minds of viewers.

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To read the full article on the Brand & Mortar website, click here.

Posted in – Blogging & Marketing & Strategy

Optimizing Tweets for Impressions & Engagement

In my opinion, Twitter is still one of the best platforms marketers can utilize for the purposes of building brand awareness. With smart content choices, clever and concise copy, and visually appealing images or videos, earning organic impressions and engagement while growing your follower base is entirely possible without the need for substantial investment in paid ad campaigns.

There are several tricks and tools one can take advantage of in order to optimize their Twitter content for maximum reach potential. These tools come in handy when developing a content strategy for Twitter, helping you decide what and when to post. And for the social media marketers out there reading this, these online tools also prove useful when trying to justify or defend certain content choices to your client, particularly with regards to (#)hashtag usage, post timing, and (@)Mention choices.

  • RiteTag
  • ManageFlitter
  • SocialRank
  • Followerwonk
1. RiteTag

RiteTag is a tool used to measure the real-time popularity of Hashtags on Twitter. RiteTag analyzes trending tags on Twitter so that users can optimize their hashtag use, with a directory containing information on more than 3 million hashtags. Their API allows users to pick stronger hashtags for their tweets, or analyze the strength of hashtags they’ve already been using.

When you enter a hashtag into RiteTag, several different metrics are provided, the most important of which include:

  • Unique Tweets per hour (how much content is being created using that hashtag)
  • Retweets per hour (how much that content is being shared)
  • Exposure per hour (how many impressions that content is earning per hour)
2. ManageFlitter

ManageFlitter is a Twitter Analytics Dashboard that tracks follows and unfollows. A set of tools is provided that allows Twitter users to effectively curate, and “prune” the followers of a given Twitter account. With Twitter, you always want to try and maintain a ratio of followers to followees that is even, or better yet, weighted towards having far more followers than those you are following. ManageFlitter helps you filter out followers who are not following you back, do not have a profile image, do not have the same first language as your target audience, have been inactive for more than 30 days, have been flagged by Twitter as fake, and many others. The quick and effective categorization of your Twitter follower base is what makes this tool so useful, allowing you to unfollow users right within their dashboard, which is extremely convenient.

On a free account, you have a limited number of unfollows you can perform in a day, but you can take steps towards increasing you daily limit up to 2,000.

3. SocialRank

SocialRank is a Twitter (and Instagram) tool that measures, and ranks, the amount of engagement from your most influential followers. It is, at its core, a tool for influencer marketing, allowing you to identify which of your current Twitter followers are the most engaged, or have the highest follower bases, so you can effectively target them in tweets using @Mentions. By mentioning your most active followers, you can persuade them to share their content with their own followers, increasing the amount of impressions your content receives exponentially.

4. Followerwonk

A powerful Twitter analytics tool developed by Moz that is used to draw insight about Twitter accounts, follower demographics, and content trends. It may have a silly name, but it is arguably the most powerful of the online tools presented in this list. It’s difficult to narrow down exactly what Followerwonk does, because it contains so many different functions and features, some of which include:

  • Finding relevant Twitter users to follow
  • Analysing the demographics of your Twitter followers and your competitors’ followers
  • Finding out when your followers are most frequently online
  • Analysing the number of followers gained and lost
  • Analysing your tweets or a competitor’s tweets

Personally, I like to use Followerwonk for the purposes of identifying the optimum time to post scheduled tweets. The tool illustrates in graph form times during the day that your followers are most active on twitter. The idea is to schedule tweets at these hours to get higher impressions and engagement.

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To read the full article on the Brand & Mortar website, click here.

Posted in – Blogging & SEO & Social Media & Strategy

Turning Your WordPress Website Into a Mobile Application

The web trends are changing in 2015, and according to recent studies, mobile traffic will increase to 60% of all the traffic that the internet receives. The web world is moving towards portability and chances are that more and more traffic to your website will be mobile-driven. To keep up, more and more web developers in Toronto and abroad are also becoming app developers, which is no easy task, considering app development involves learning a new coding language, such as Java or Swift. If you don’t have an app to complement your web presence, you’re missing on a huge opportunity to build a loyal user base and grow your traffic.

AppPresser is a customization tool for mobile applications that connects directly to your WordPress backend. The company’s website doesn’t go into too much detail about how their tool works, but they maintain that their product will bring all of your website’s features to a mobile app for iOS or Android. Adding content to your app will automatically populate on your web, and you even have the ability to set up push notifications so that users can get instantly updated whenever new content appears on your site. AppPresser argues that the benefit of building an app that is powered by WordPress is that WordPress has user management features that were previously not available in an app alone.

There are no monthly fees when you use AppPresser, you own and host your own app. The pricing of AppPressor is slightly on the higher side, with simple news/content website app starting from 199$(for 5 apps) and more advanced mobile app going to $499.00(up to 25 apps).

Mobiloud is another management and customization tool for mobile applications that syncs with your WordPress. The Mobiloud tool takes the form of a WordPress plugin, offering seamless integration with your website, automatically updating your app anytime you make changes to the site. The only catch with Mobiloud is that the tool does not automatically convert your website into an application; an app is built for you and then linked to the plugin. The company touts this as a good thing, arguing that, unlike other solutions, Mobiloud gives you a completely “native” app.

That’s not to say you don’t have some control over what your native app will ultimately look like. After installing the plugin you can add your logo/brand and customise the UI’s colors, add an app icon and launch images, and even get to see a preview of the app before it’s built. The major benefit of having Mobiloud build your app, but they take care of the app submission process, sparing you from having to sign up as a developer, pay for a developer account and handling the build.

The Mobiloud solution is very well-rounded and robust. Here are some of the key features:

  • Any new articles will be listed in the app as soon as they’re published
  • Changes to your app’s menu and configuration are also immediately updated
  • Your app is integrated with the leading mobile ad servers like MoPub and Google DFP, to give you maximum flexibility in serving your own inventory or banners from ad networks like AdMob
  • A push notification system that will notify users of the app every time new content is published
  • Social sharing integration with Twitter, Facebook and many others
  • Integration with the Disqus commenting system
  • The ability to “favorite” articles
  • Multi-language support (including RTL for Arabic and Hebrew)
  • Access to your website’s content offline
  • The ability to add your own custom HTML, PHP, CSS and Javascript code
  • Full support and integration with Google Analytics

The pricing for a starter app with Mobiloud will run you about $69/month, which features one platform, email support, and a few other features. A Professional app will cost you only $99 per month, which offers an app build for both iOS and Android.