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8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

April 5, 2013 7 Comments »

teamwork

 

Companies who have waited to get started with social media still have an opportunity to get started with website updates, social media interaction, blogs, and other digital marketing tactics.

Whether you’re the owner of a small company, or running a corporation, if bringing your digital marketing in-house isn’t an option, working with an agency is an optimum solution.

Buyer Beware

The problem is that there are plenty of agencies out there who are ready to take advantage of people who don’t understand social media, web analytics, website design and development, and SEO. These agencies can charge customers unfair prices and may not deliver on their claims because they assume their clients won’t know any better. Clients sign up for a contract and are able to say, “We’re online” but aren’t seeing ROI, and aren’t incorporating their digital marketing into their overall marketing mix. Clients probably have no idea what their website is or isn’t capable of, what level of engagement they have with customers, or if the SEO research the agency is doing is working.

Here are 8 questions to ask before hiring an outside agency

  • Does the agency have an updated, modern website? If the agency’s site looks old, is difficult to navigate, and not attractive, chances are your website won’t be either.
  • Does the agency have examples of their work on their site? (Portfolio) This gives you an idea of their aesthetic, types of clients they work with, and their creative capabilities.
  • Do they have clients you can call for a reference/recommendation?
  • Does the agency offer a free consultation?  This gives you and the agency time to see if the relationship is a good fit, bounce ideas, and get a feel for how the agency works.
  • How often do they send analytics, and how often will they schedule meetings to review the analytics? (a monthly meeting is ideal for a meeting)
  • Do analytics cost extra? If they do, I don’t recommend hiring that agency. Analytics show the progress and successes of your and the agency’s work. Agencies should WANT to show you the progress of campaigns.
  • If the agency will be doing SEO for you, make sure you get notifications of which keywords they’re testing and the progress of that testing. (Again, this should not cost extra.)
  • Will the agency or will you be updating the website? This is something to discuss with the agency to figure out the best solution for your company’s needs. If the website will be updated daily, someone in-house should be able to update it.

Time Flies

One of the last things to consider is the length of the contract. I’ve talked to many companies who got “a great deal” by signing up for a 3-year contract. What ended up happening is they forgot about their website, didn’t work with the agency (and the agency didn’t call them to discuss updates) so the agency got a lot of money for not a lot of work. A 1-year contract is the longest I’d recommend because that is enough time for the agency to test out campaigns, build up engagement, and to see if this is a relationship you want for long-term.

What other questions do you recommend asking an agency? Are there questions you wish you would have asked before working with an agency? Let me know in the comments section, or call Branding Personality at 1.888.747.3263.

Lori Johnson, MBA, blogs for Branding Personality. She works in the healthcare industry providing social, website, and branding strategies. Connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

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5 Common Social Media Mistakes Brands Commit

March 20, 2013 1 Comment »

Social Media HeartAs I was doing my daily reading this morning, I came across this article. It resonated quite well with me. Here at Branding Personality, we consult many clients that come to us with exactly these problems. ‘5 Common Social Media Mistakes Brands Commit‘ originally appeared on PR Daily. Digital marketing has come a long way in the last few years, evolving from a nice addition to your marketing strategy to a necessity for most businesses.

Thankfully, most small- and medium-size businesses (SMEs) avoid creating a social media presence just for the sake of being online, but there are other traps they fall into instead. Here are the most common problems. (more…)

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How To Become A Super Achiever For Your Business

March 18, 2013 2 Comments »

How to Become a super achiever for your businessI just read an article on Forbes about how to become a super achiever for your business. All ten points that the author, Jenna Goudreau, made focused on personal attitude, smart thinking, and doing the right things.

 

As I was reading her advice, I realized that all of it also translates into social media success. If you apply the advice on how to be a super-achiever personally to social media, your potential of becoming a social media super-achiever is just as great. Apply it to your business, and you will probably see the results you’ve always wanted to see. (more…)

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Social Media: You Get What You Give

March 14, 2013 No Comments »

Blog PostAt Branding Personality, one of the most often asked questions we hear is “How can I get more fans and followers?” I was thinking about this as I read an awesome blog post by Bryan Kramer “Social: The Best Cocktail Party Ever.

If you go to a party, sulk in a corner, grab your food and head back to your corner, what value do you bring to the party? Conversely, if you go to the party, say hi to a few people, but never share information or conversation, what did you truly give? (Why are you at this party anyway?) (more…)

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Facebook Changes its News Feed – Will Advertisers’ Engagement drop?

March 7, 2013 4 Comments »

Facebook News Feed Update

Facebook announced changes to the News Feed today. The updates center around the increasingly photo-driven social world, and the popularity of visuals. Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that the way the world shares information has changed from text-based interaction to visual communication, and that the new updates will revolve around the need to de-clutter the News Feed.

The updated News Feed design was created around three principles that will help create a more visually pleasing experience.

#1 Richer Stories

Richer Facebook Stories

As Facebook’s Director of Design, Julie Zhou, noted, the News Feed experience really comes down to stories. The update to the News Feed will enlarge photos and will place them front and center in order to immerse users directly into the visual stories shared by their friends, family, and public figures they have chosen to follow.

Facebook wants to give users a richer, simpler and more beautiful News Feed so people can find out what’s going on in the social world around them without having to dig too deeply. As a result, the new design will give more space on the News Feed to photos, article shares and check-ins.

Additionally, when friends share a photo, video or article, their face will appear alongside the shared content so you can scroll over their profile to see what exactly they are saying about the content, and what kind of comments have spawned off of their reaction to what’s being shared.

 #2 Choice of Feed

With the new update, Facebook users will now have more power over the type of content that occupies their News Feed. Instead of skimming the surface of conversation, the update positions Facebook more as a traditional newspaper, with sections, like sports, photos, music, etc., that users can choose to get content from.

With the all friends feed, you can view stories and status updates from your entire friends list. If you want to trim your News Feed down, you can choose the close friends feed in order to see content from those near and dear to you. The music feed lets you see content from the musicians you like, like concert showtimes and recent album releases. The photos feed will show users photos and photos only. And the following feed will show you content from all the pages and public figures you have chosen to give a “like” to.

However, this ability to choose the type of feed you want might pose problems for advertisers and company pages. Unless fans specifically choose the following feed, fan engagement could drop off significantly for businesses, which would require company pages to use promoted posts or spend more money on Facebook advertising.

#3 Consistency Between Interfaces

Facebook is striving to give users more consistency and material similarity across all devices- smartphones, tablets and desktops. With the update, Facebook will be more easily navigable, the News Feed will look and feel the same across all devices, and there will be a mobile-inspired web design for PC and desktop users.

Consistency Between Interfaces

Overall, the News Feed changes place a premium on visuals. Brands and companies must understand this in order to keep pace with the engagement wave that will undoubtedly change as the update continues to roll out. Text-based content will see a drastic decrease in engagement levels, so it will be advantageous to center content calendars and marketing campaigns around eye-popping visuals.

Facebook indicated that they will give the update to a small audience at first, beginning today, and will expand outwards as they continue to get feedback and fix any bugs that may occur.

The first feedback we have received is that this design looks very similar to Google Plus, and the mobile interface looks like Instagram. What do you think of the changes that Facebook has planned?

 

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Google and the Zero Moment of Truth

March 6, 2013 No Comments »

Winning the Zero Moment of Truth

Yesterday I attended a special Google Fireside Chat at Branding Personality. Google has relationships with over 90,000 agencies but only 1,400 were chosen to host and share this event with clients, colleagues, and partners. (more…)

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Download the Harlem Shake WordPress Plugin to make your site dance

March 1, 2013 5 Comments »

Now every WordPress site can join the Harlem Shake! Just install this free WordPress plugin, and get your site movin’.

The Harlem Shake viral sensation has played on your computer hundreds of times, the laughter produced from it so loud that your bosses at work come over to scold you for watching YouTube videos on the clock.

But then they see the video, their grimace turns from a frown into an outrageous smile, and their chastising transforms into a burst of laughter louder than yours…and maybe they even do their own rendition of the Harlem Shake, pulling out dance moves not seen since the 80s, the type of moves reserved for living rooms and kitchens and the kind of places void of audiences, and the whole experience creates a work bond you never thought possible.

So in the spirit of wanting all the digital world to dance to the tune of the Harlem Shake and its spontaneous perfection, Branding Personality and company COO, Rutger Hensel, have come up with a WordPress plugin that will give your website electronic shakes and rattles that will make any Harlem Shaker proud.

“Your logo starts shaking before other visual elements follow suit,” says Marieke Hensel, founder and CEO of Branding Personality. “This plug-in presents a fun way to make your website’s visitors laugh, and hopefully share your website and drive more traffic to it.”

By typing in the Konami Code (up arrow, up arrow, down arrow, down arrow, left arrow, right arrow, left arrow, right arrow, b, a) on your keyboard, anyone can make a website that has installed the Harlem Shake Beta plugin shake, rattle and roll. Test it out on the Branding Personality site using Chrome or Firefox, and input the Konami Code once you are on the homepage.

Download the Harlem Shake Beta Plugin, install it on your WordPress site and watch your site dance itself to life.

 

 

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How to Use Social Media Like a Kardashian

February 20, 2013 1 Comment »

The Kardashians and Their Social Media KingdomIt is no secret that the Kardashians are famous for simply that, being famous. But how did they rise from a reality TV show to American Royalty in just 7 years? Branding. Not only do they have their own personal clothing, cosmetic, and housewares lines but they also use social media to promote everything else they do.

From Instagram to Keek, the Kardashians have taken over the social media world one tweet at a time. And with Kim’s upcoming child from her beau Kanye West, another branding mogul will be born. It wouldn’t be surprising if the new Kardashian-West got their own twitter account to track how many bottles they’ve consumed in a day.

Don’t be Afraid to be a Diva
Okay, so maybe the pictures of the Kardashians in bikinis and holding $10,000 Hermes handbags are part of what bring them followers. However, they don’t just post about anything and everything.  They post about things that are true to who they are and their brand.

Before you post things to your social media accounts, ask these questions:

1. Is this post representing my business well?

2. What popular hashtags are applicable to this post?

3. Am I linking followers back to my company’s website?

Facebook

Everyone including Kim Kardashian’s cat, Mercy, knows how to use Facebook. Facebook is a great way to link people back to your website. Glam up your Facebook page and fill it with new and exciting information. Unlike other social media outlets, Facebook gives followers the opportunity to really learn about your business and website.  Make sure to include valid information in your “about” section and stay on top of Facebook posts.

To gain more Facebook traffic, advertise free giveaways to followers of your Facebook page. Being cheap never got the Kardashian sisters anywhere.  They are always using Facebook to offer followers and fans free merchandise. After all, nobody can resist some free swag.

Twitter

Twitter is the Kardashians favorite social media tool, and rightfully so.  With the ability to reach across your fan-base in just seconds, you can send a tweet anywhere.  Even when they are across the world, the Kardashians are still tweeting and maintaining a relationship with their Twitter followers.

Delegate a good 10 to 15 minutes to Twitter a day. Maybe even two minutes every hour to send a quick tweet out into the Twitter-sphere. By demonstrating an on going presence people will link back to you.

Worse comes to worse, hashtag #kardashian. That should bring you a few new followers.

Instagram

With over 6 million followers on Instagram, it is no secret that Kim Kardashian uses Instagram for just about everything. Instagram is a way to connect to fans, the world, and other businesses strictly through the means of photography. Although they Instagram pictures of nothing less than their fabulous lifestyle, the Kardashians are constantly promoting their brands. By snapping quick pics of your businesses leading product, followers can have access to your business and personal life. Much like with Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags to attract more users back to your Instagram page.  Use at least one hashtag with every picture you post, in order to link people back to you and attract more followers.

Start by taking pictures that are of your niche. Advertise new products, new employees, or screen shots of new posts on your blog.

Keek

Keek is the newest addition to the social media family.  Kylie and Kendall Jenner were the first in the Kardashian clan to start utilizing Keek. Keek acts similar to Instagram except you can post small videos instead of pictures. Because Keek is newer to the social media world, start getting people excited about this new tool!

Advertising

Last but not least, always promote your social media pages on your website, business cards, and anywhere in your office. Encourage people to like your Facebook page and follow you on other social media tools.

Theo Schmidt has worked as a software engineer in Los Angeles since graduating from UCLA in 2006 with a degree in computer science. He spent five summers working for an SEO Calgary company, where he developed a love for social media. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors and is an environmental activist.


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The Customer Experience Book Club

February 6, 2013 1 Comment »

I’ve been to several events in the past few months with speakers talking about the Customer Experience. More companies are creating a Customer Experience Manager position because they understand the importance of creating a consistent and superior experience for customers. Oracle and Salesforce have dedicated sessions at their events for Customer Experience Managers because they understand how integral this position is to the success of a company. (more…)

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5 Reasons to Use Pinterest for Your Business

January 28, 2013 3 Comments »

5 Reasons to Use Pinterest for Your BusinessSince the beginning of 2012, Pinterest has gained a large following of users and continues to grow every month. It has been used to share images across the Internet for a variety of reasons from entertainment value to advertising campaigns. Millions of users frequent the website on a regular basis looking for images that peak their interest so that they may “repin” those images to share with their own followers. With more than 25 million unique visitors, Pinterest can be a great method to generate interest in your business practices. Here are 5 reasons to use Pinterest for your business. (more…)

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