content strategy

Crush That Writer’s Block

As we now have a couple of weeks of the new year under our belt, we wanted to take a look back at one of our most popular blogs posts from 2017.  Sarah talks about how to deal with Writer's Block; perfect to start your year off strong!

At some point, it happens to all of us. You sit down to write, but the words just aren’t there. It happens because writers aren’t machines - even machines need an oil change and tune up once in a while. When you have a million items on your to-do list, creative time can easily fall by the wayside. It’s one of the most important aspects of a social media manager’s job.  Anyone with a deadline for journalistic or other forms of writing has likely experienced writer’s block.

Here are some handy tips and tricks to help you stay focused and keep creating awesome content daily.

1.     Write at different times. If you usually write in the afternoon, try writing in the morning or evening. The change in time may be enough to create a fresh outlook. For me, evenings are great for getting some uninterrupted work done. Tasks from the day are behind me and I can focus on jotting down content ideas, catching up on some reading or to research new trends. For the early-bird, the hours before starting your work day might be most productive. Break your habit and experiment to see what works best for you.

2.     Change of scenery. Moving around in your office can get you out of a stale mindset and allow you to gain a fresh perspective in new surroundings. Try changing up locations twice a day. When the weather cooperates, try bringing your computer or notebook outdoors. Fresh air has a way of changing your mood and outlook, which is good news for your next project!

3.     Try something different. Sometimes it’s possible to be too familiar with a topic. Agency life can mean working in the same industry, with the same clients for years. After awhile, it becomes easy to get stuck in a rut. Try looking at your topic from a different perspective and research new ideas or trends to keep it fresh and interesting to read AND write.

4.     Take a break. Short breaks are a great way to stay motivated. As research has shown, we’re actually more productive when we break up our work routine throughout the day. Barring an immediate deadline, there is usually some time to step away from your assignment and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes.

5.     Crank up the tunes. Sometimes office chatter can be too much to bear. Music can provide some much-needed relief to those little conversations and “quick” meetings that can easily break your focus and concentration. If you find you have difficulty listening to music as you write, try queuing up a playlist that doesn’t have lyrics.

6.     Do the dishes. Your brain needs to relax before coming up with creative insight. Staring at your computer screen might end up being counterproductive. Try stimulating those creative muscles with routine tasks. Tidy your work space. Fold the laundry. Wash the dishes. Above all, relax.

7.     Talk it out. In order to beat your writer's block, try seeking inspiration from others around you. Bounce your ideas off friends and colleagues, or ask someone to brainstorm with you. Just having someone to talk to can often lead to creating ideas you never thought possible, helping ending your writer's block-induced creative drought.

There’s no doubt about it - writing is hard work. Don’t become a tortured genius. Experiment. Find out what works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be. Just have with it fun!

True Life: I am a Social Media Manager

It's that time of the year when everyone is on vacation, so we decided to give our blog writers a much deserved time off and repost one of our top performing blogs of the year. We hope you'll enjoy it, and have a great rest of the summer!

For whatever reason, it seems as if the most commonly asked question when meeting someone for the first time is, “What do you do?” I usually respond, “Well, I am a Social Media Manager (SMM).” This is usually followed by the person responding with, “Oh! You get paid to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day?” Sound the record scratch! While this is partly true, marketers and numerous brands/companies know that this is just scratching the surface. While social media is an ever-evolving industry, it is obviously so much more than just “posting to Facebook and Twitter.” In any given day, I wear many different hats.

In a typical day, I converse with clients and coworkers, create engaging and valuable content, analyze analytics of ad campaigns and content, research and plan future posts and campaigns, and monitor the different networks for engagement and mentions on behalf of my clients.

I recognize that the social media world is confusing for business owners to navigate when they have been focused on their trade for much of their career. Social media for businesses came quick and has turned into a whirlwind of an industry. The thing that some business owners may not understand is that being an SMM is a real, full time position that goes far beyond posting current specials and commenting when someone likes their status.

Creating and analyzing ad campaigns are two of the largest responsibilities for a SMM in more ways than one. Building campaigns properly to get traffic, engagement, and to hit goals, is crucial. My clients have entrusted me with their money and expect that I will use my industry knowledge to gain them results. Once the ad is created, I’m not on coast-mode. I optimize throughout the month to make sure it’s delivering, and if it is not, I tweak it.

I review this information and create content with the goal of resonating with the type of people that are responding to the different posts and ads. My clients provide me with photos and specials they have going on to align with their advertising goals. I also keep an eye on local events that may attract people to the area because my clients are in the hospitality industry.

When I’m not focusing on ads or creating content, I’m monitoring the different social profiles that I manage. I engage with the followers and answer any questions that get directed to the brands. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. It is exciting to see when my content has been a success and the positive feedback that my clients receive. It is also beneficial for me to see when content doesn’t generate any form of engagement. This lets me know I need to try something else in the future.

All in all, I am in a field that is constantly evolving and requires a lot of detail, research, and thought. I consider myself to be a part of the small percentage of people who are paid to do something they are truly passionate about. Like everything else, it is not always rainbows and lollipops. There is responsibility and even liability of speaking on behalf of a brand. I look forward to this challenge, amount of responsibility, and sense of purpose I am embarking on as a newly hired Social Media Manager at Thin Pig Media.

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Getting Back to the Basics

I was recently asked, "What is Social Media Marketing? How do I get started?"

Social Media can be a scary term for many business owners, but it doesn’t need to be. At its core, the term refers to something business owners have been doing forever – building relationships to expand their client base. With all the sophisticated advice out there, these days everyone is a social media ‘expert.’

The truth is, there really is no one-size-fits-all social media strategy. It’s about time to stop this hype and get back to basics!

The 101

  • Know Yourself. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and what differentiates you from your competitors. Create a tone that is true to your brand identity. People want to know what you’re all about.
  • Give the People What They Want. Consumers turn to your brand for a reason. Always keep your audience in mind. Deliver what your audience wants from your content, whether they’re looking to get informed about your business, use your services, or are just seeking a quick bit of entertainment.
  • Be Open to Change. Social media is ever changing. What’s new tomorrow may be different from what you’re comfortable with today, but it might also be more effective. Updates are constantly being introduced to each social media platform and that means you can learn something new almost every day! Attend free seminars, read books, speak to your colleagues – after all, knowledge is power.
  • Show Your Fun Side. A sense of humor works better than a formal and conventional approach. What’s the last thing you clicked on or remember reading online? Whatever it was, I’m sure it was funny or original… that’s what works.
  • Keep it SIMPLE, Friends!

Social media has come a long way in the last 10 or so years, however, it is important not to lose sight of the basics. A clear understanding of the basic concepts of social media should always be kept in mind. Social media benefits people on a universal level. Part of its tremendous appeal is the fact that a person can establish a relationship with anyone they want, in any place around the world.

Bottom line, people want to feel appreciated, educated, and inspired. So get out there and start connecting!


 

Be Our Guest

Which Beauty and the Beast Character Fits Your Brand Voice?

We all know that finding your unique brand voice is essential to achieving a slew of social media goals. It makes the difference between being remembered and being forgotten. Every industry offers different goods and services, and social media styles within each vertical can be as varied as logos.

Defining an online voice takes time, as you carve and sculpt with each update, photo, and even customer service interactions like comments and replies. So with the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast coming to theaters soon, we at Thin Pig asked ourselves an important question:

WHY THE HECK are they remaking this movie?! Seriously, the trailer looks like a shot-for-shot xerox of the animated classic! Who asked for this??? 

...But we digress. This tale as old as time is chock full of memorable characters, whose personalities are widely varied, and who each serve a particular purpose in the story. So for social media nerds like us, the more relevant question raised by Disney’s masterpiece is:

Can businesses use its beloved characters as inspiration when determining the best online voice for their brand? Let’s give it a shot.

BELLE

Belle is the protagonist, the hero, and the person with whom the audience member is always identifying.

Brand Voice: Colloquial, familiar, casually humorous, locally minded, friendly but not subservient, intelligent but not patronizing, slanting feminine

Most Likely Industries: Cafes, shoes, drive-through restaurants, local bars, indulgent/comfort foods, hotels (style & culture)

GASTON

Gaston is a self-proclaimed expert of everything, and is clearly the town’s best source of entertainment.

Brand Voice: Loud, in your face, adventurous, inspiring, bragging about challenges and achievements, always encouraging you to join in, slanting masculine

Most Likely Industries: Competitive sports, athletic clothing, energy drinks, men’s deodorant

THE SERVANTS

Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and the fancy French feather duster are available at the beck and call of their master, for whatever tasks or pampering are desired.

Brand Voice: Service-focused, formal, elegant, refined, inviting, always anticipating the audience’s comforts & desires, proud of elevated status & awards

Most Likely Industries: Hotels (luxury & business), high-end cars, credit cards, formal foods & restaurants

MAURICE, BELLE’S FATHER

Maurice is the wacky inventor who studies and tinkers all day, mocked as a weirdo by society but resolutely driven to lessen the burdens of daily life.

Brand Voice: Geeky, knowledgable, self-deprecatingly humorous, hopeful about the future, given to daydreaming, obsessed with statistics

Most Likely Industries: Gadgets, technology, innovation, specialty medicine, individual sports

BEAST

Don’t be the Beast. He’s a sloppy inconsiderate jerk who only changes his tune because he’s scared that the last rose petal falling will spell his doom. Plus he’s got giant paws for hands, so his typing is probably atrocious. Okay, fine, he turns out to be a good dude, but only because Belle is so awesome.

So which one is your business? Leave a comment below!