Small Can Be Beautiful in Social Media Marketing

By Carly Klassen

When I meet with prospects and business owners, I am still surprised when I hear that business owners can’t see the value, or are extremely skeptical about investing in social media.

Social media marketing, like any type of investment in your business, takes work. There is no magic button that turns on valuable social media engagement and you can’t “set it and forget it”.

Social media requires consistent monitoring and listening. As opposed to traditional media, which is typically 1-dimensional with the organization pushing information about their products to their consumers, social media is a 2-way street, where listening is just as important as publishing content. The learning done in this type of marketing can (and should) inform and shape both your content and social media strategy.

In addition to the skepticism, I often am confronted with businesses who assume that you have to have thousands, or hundreds of thousands of followers to be relevant on social media. However, I emphasize that small can be beautiful. A smaller group of engaged individuals who are “fans” of your brand is far more effective than purchasing 10,000 “followers” who will never engage in an authentic way about your business. Engaged fans will help promote your business both online and offline. Fans typically consistent of both consumers and prospects and the content that you produce helps them to inform their purchase decisions.

Producing relevant, interesting or important information about your business is critical to developing a consistent following. If you publish sporadically, or infrequently – people lose interest quickly. Creating and following a content schedule that incorporates your brand values will help you stay on track.

If you’d like to talk to someone about developing a content schedule and strategy for your business, send us an e-mail info@sagecompany.ca

Carly Klassen is a Marketing Consultant and founder at Sage Company.
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Using Social Media for Business Development

By Amanda Kruschack

Inspiration comes to us in the strangest moments. A strike of genius wearing your lucky blazer. A pen and paper combo that houses with your best ideas. Transfer these habits to the digital landscape and you’re sure to find plenty of spaces that will lead you to a host of inspiration for business development opportunities.

Any seasoned BD (business development) person will tell you the best way to keep an edge on the competition is to always be (no, not closing) but informed. With sites like LinkedIn the workplace equivalent of Facebook, companies, competitors, employees are always sharing information. How can this affect your business development operations? Maybe there was an industry development that directly affects you or a client or prospect and somehow you missed it. That could be the difference between you maintaining or gaining a client. Opportunities can come and go as quickly as time ticks and it’s best to have an edge where and when you can.

That could be the difference between you maintaining or gaining a client.

Fear not, the blessing of social media properties like Twitter and LinkedIn is that with so much information available it’s likely to come down your pipe sooner than later. Vigilance however, is best practice. The easiest way to manage your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles for BD purposes is pretty simple. For LinkedIn connections or Twitter accounts to follow, look for people within your company, industry, or prospects that you’d like to pursue. Influencers or advocates are often sharing information that is on brand and informed with up-to-date information.

Official accounts of companies are an obvious follow but I’m going to ask you to put on your P.I. badge once again (just go with it). For example, if you’re looking to work with ‘Super Great Company A’ and you learn that ‘Super Great Employee B’ has a Twitter handle as directed in their LinkedIn profile, check them out on Twitter. This is a no brainer. It’s important to remember, as a public tool, we’re all trading and sharing information. Whether you’re sharing we’re hiring for A, or looking for information about B, or announcing C. Everyone is doing it.

As a research tool, it’s invaluable. I’m showing a lot of love to Twitter in this post because I think as a digital repository of information, professionally speaking, it’s the top of the heap. While most our profiles state “opinions are our own” and “do not reflect that of our employers”, we all talk. Encouraging conversation with an interested party or discovering something about a prospect that could change the outcome or an opportunity I have two words for you, get online.

Customer insights are everywhere online. Social listening is a sure way to discover what customers are saying about your brand and industry. Listening tools that will scale as your customer base does like Hootsuite Insights for example, is a great tool to gather granular customer data that will enable you to make real-time, smarter business decisions. What better way to discover not only what your customers/prospects think of your business or brand but also to see what they think of your competition.

As I mentioned earlier, inspiration finds us in the strangest moments. That moment online could be the discovery an industry wide issue that you can be the first to tackle. Happy listening, happy sharing, happy discovering and good luck.

Beyond Metrics: Your Brand’s Online Persona

By Amanda Kruschack

Marketers are always looking for the best way to engage with an audience and potential customers online (Hi!). We all want to hit that niche that will drive activity and ultimately a hearty ROI that coincides with your customer acquisition cost (CAC). Social media is that hot ticket that marketers are trying to find a way to work for them best. That said, an active Twitter handle, or Instagram profile often isn’t enough.

We’ve heard it before, digital audiences are more demanding than traditional mediums. This can often leave marketers flustered when they can’t solve the brand-audience-metric puzzle. Not to ignore the importance of SEM/SEO, but platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook are paramount (platforming depending) to gaining an audience that is reflective of your brand to engage with.

What’s behind those social media profiles that often make them a success? It’s connecting with your audience through a genuine and on brand persona. Yes, we’re asking you to go beyond metrics. Or, maybe it’s that we’re going back to the beginning. What does your brand represent? And, who does your brand represent? This is a business case that works across all verticals.

If you look at social media influencers who are now brand representatives, many of them we’re doing the legwork for industries like consumer packaged goods (CPG) and fashion before it was popular to do so. With the rise of social media platforms and YouTube, brands are scouring the internet to find the right Cinderella persona to fit their glass slipper to take their online presence to the next level.

A great example is, Chiara Ferragni or better known on the internet as, The Blonde Salad = a blog which she began in 2009. She has since risen to the top echelon of digital media fame, boasting over 9.9 million Instagram followers representing and collaborating with brands including: Steve Madden, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Max Mara, Chanel, J Brand and Seven for All Mankind. Ferragni’s ability to take ownership of digital media platforms through branding and curate a pitch perfect online presence that is arguably the first of its kind in the fashion world has advertisers tongues wagging. Not rub it in, but her success has also caught the attention of Harvard Business School. Not too bad for a former law student who started their blog out of pure enjoyment of the platform.

This list courtesy of Mediakix details the Top 10 Brands on YouTube. In each of the 10 brands listed you’ll see there is an organic persona or message synonymous with the brand. Some of those listed include:

  • Google’s current employees, Nat & Lo
  • Nike choosing entertainer, Kevin Hart
  • Nintendo Minute with Kit & Krista
  • Red Bull’s Mick Fanning’s surf photography (Personal favourite – inspired, but I think I’ll stay on shore, Red Bull in hand!)

Buyer personas are more important than ever regarding how your brand will thrive (or not) online.

If you’d like to create your own thriving online persona, contact us at Sage Company we can help.

Amanda Kruschack is a writer experienced in sales, marketing and media. With her own omni-channel set of skills and experience, Amanda provides valuable insights through dedicated learning and experience across multiple industries. Amanda also has 10 years experience working within television and film in the US and Canada in a writing, producer and production capacity. When she doesn’t have a boarding pass in-hand, you can find her currently working within Canada’s Technology Triangle. 
Academically, Amanda graduated with honours from Ryerson University’s prestigious RTA School of Media with a minor in English. She also earned a Postgraduate certificate in Marketing with honours from Humber College. 

Company Crush. Clique Media Group: Digital Master

By Amanda Kruschack

‘Company Crush’ will be a recurring piece on the Sage Company blog that discusses an organization that we believe sets an example for the rest of us. This article looks at Clique Media Group. 

What’s 11 years old, boasts more than 13 million unique visitors per month and has 40 million (and counting) social media followers? Clique Media Group (CMG). The brainchild of Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, these former magazine editors turned the digital media and fashion space on its head and made it their own. Capturing the voice of millions of readers and customers across the globe, their company now holds 7 properties under their moniker, it all began with their would-be titan Who What Wear.

While the rest of us were living it up on primitive chat platforms, like MSN Messenger and thrilled to get a coveted invite-only Gmail account, these two women were beginning their empire and fitting it perfectly into our now digitally driven lives.

Admittedly, I (happily) fit right into their target audience. So hang on, this is going to be as much of a gush-fest as it is, praise for a truly digital media group killing it in 2017. (Say that last part again, slowly and with feeling).

ouraudienceImage courtesy of Clique Media Group.

What I love most is how through its various digital properties: Who What Wear, Byrdie, College Fashionista, My Domaine, and Obsessee, CMG has married the voice and wants of their audience through curated content that reflects its wide range of (predominantly female) audience members whether they be Gen X, Y or Z.  In the overcrowded digital space, CMG stands out as having successfully refined how to bridge the gap between content, consumer brands and translate that into revenue. While others struggle to answer the question, what does our audience want? CMG has hit its stride.

Positioning themselves as being, “Led by content. Informed by data. Driven by sales” CMG harnesses the power of their audience through inclusive content. Their latest addition to how they are leveraging data-driven content is by implementing their own Slackbot! Reported in December 2016, AdExchanger.com writes that, “editors receive a Slackbot notification with details about the article’s overperformance and ways they can optimize the article, such as adding a social media call to action to “like” an article.” That’s right, real-time actionable editorial data.

Afterall, she who owns the data wins.

I can say with certainty we’ll be seeing much more of CMG in the years to come. I for one, am excited to see how they’ll change the digital media game next! From one digital marketer, content writer and plain ol’fan, thank you! Excited yet? Pick up your copy of The Career Code, by Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power to give your own burgeoning empire some legs.

P.S. For a final praise of domination, Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr have joined the likes of fashion powerhouses Phillip Lim, Victoria Beckham and Missoni to have ongoing apparel and accessories collection using the Who What Wear brand with Target. Check out their Spring 2017 collection here.

#nameabetterduo

Amanda Kruschack is a writer experienced in sales, marketing and media. With her own omni-channel set of skills and experience, Amanda provides valuable insights through dedicated learning and experience across multiple industries. Amanda also has 10 years experience working within television and film in the US and Canada in a writing, producer and production capacity. When she doesn’t have a boarding pass in-hand, you can find her currently working within Canada’s Technology Triangle. 
Academically, Amanda graduated with honours from Ryerson University’s prestigious RTA School of Media with a minor in English. She also earned a Postgraduate certificate in Marketing with honours from Humber College. 

Social Media Channels: Your Customers in Waiting

By Amanda Kruschack

It may seem there is a hot new social media channel as frequent as the seasons change. The thing is, it’s kind of true. While some may be hardpressed to defend and maintain their reign or legitimacy, others are able to transcend fads and adapt to their growing audience. Look at how how many social media channels have adopted concepts from their competitors like, filters and video all to adapt to their growing audience. That said, so must you.

With so many options, it’s difficult to choose which platform is best for your business. Here’s a quick breakdown of those channels waiting at your fingertips.

The Holy Trinity of social media channels as a basis of where to start is Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These user friendly platforms are in a sense digital grassroots marketing. From lemonade stands to multinational corporations, nearly every business has a Facebook page.

Find the right “voice” in your Twitter handle and you’ll resonate with customers immediately. Many companies use Twitter not only for marketing but to enable customer service agents to address issues as they happen. For example, airlines, utility companies and public transit commissions often use Twitter to engage, address service updates or outages and to minimize any public relations damage in real time.

A great example of a consumer packaged goods Twitter account is @Charmin. This CPG has curated a Twitter account that offers cheeky humour while being informative and relevant. Check it out, it’s a fun read. (After this blog post, obviously.)

This brings us to Instagram. By including a hashtag or account mention that is relevant to your brand is an element that engages a builtin algorithm that will create a suggestion page, profiles or handles to follow. All related to your content. This will create your very own buzz and in time, followers beyond your immediate circle of friends and family.

Activity based channels like Snapchat demand of the user to generate immediate content that is responsive. And by responsive, I mean delivering and onbrand reactions via image/video to your customers/audience every time. Snapchat may be more laborious in terms of generating that branded content – however, it’s those visuals that your customers are seeing that will allow them visualize themselves as a part of your brand. Surely not everyone on social media wearing a flower crown has been to Coachella, but you know they’re looking to buy-in on the experience online.

#ItDoesntHaveToBeComplicated

Amanda Kruschack is a writer experienced in sales, marketing and media. With her own omni-channel set of skills and experience, Amanda provides valuable insights through dedicated learning and experience across multiple industries. Amanda also has 10 years experience working within television and film in the US and Canada in a writing, producer and production capacity. When she doesn’t have a boarding pass in-hand, you can find her currently working within Canada’s Technology Triangle. 
Academically, Amanda graduated with honours from Ryerson University’s prestigious RTA School of Media with a minor in English. She also earned a Postgraduate certificate in Marketing with honours from Humber College.