digital marketing

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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The Facebook Pixel: What You Need to Know

Unhappy with your Facebook Ads results? Not exactly sure how Facebook Ads work, but by now, you think you probably have made some sales from them? With the Facebook pixel, you can take the guesswork out. You can also access analytics galore (more than print, radio, and television, by the way) that can help you target the right customers in order to reach your ad goals.

What Is It?

In simplest terms, the Facebook pixel is a tool that allows advertisers to measure effectiveness and track conversions from Facebook ads, automatically optimize ads, and create retargeted ads.

Track Conversions

Yes, the Facebook pixel actually allows you to see if you’ve made any sales based on a Facebook ad click. Not only this, but your campaign will tell you how many sales occurred, when they happened, and in many cases, the amount that was spent and how much each conversion cost you in terms of ad spend. What's more, you can dive in deeper and see which gender made the purchase, which day of the week it was made on, and more! Facebook will also set you up with ways to target the right people in order to help you reach your conversion goal, or “event.”

In addition to purchase/reservation transactions, advertisers can track a number of website events, which include:

  • Purchase

  • Lead

  • Complete Registration

  • Add Payment Info

  • Initiate Checkout

  • Add to Cart

  • Add to Wishlist

  • Search

  • View Content

  • Custom conversions

If your business is hoping to track any of these events, then the Facebook Pixel is a must.

How It Works

Facebook will provide you with a code specific to your ad account that you will then place on the backend of your website code. Trust us, it’s not as scary as it sounds. You then activate it on Facebook and voilà -- your pixel is tracking.

Optimize Audience

As mentioned before, once the pixel reaches a conversion threshold (e.g. Purchase, Registration Complete, Add to Cart, etc.), Facebook will start optimizing your ads in order to show them to people who are more likely to convert based on your goals. A lookalike audience can be created from this data, which essentially is an audience that Facebook believes is similar in demographics & interests to the people who have visited your website.

Retargeting

Have you ever shopped for shoes online, left the store’s website without purchasing, only to find that those shoes are following you around Facebook? That’s remarketing (aka retargeting). With the pixel, you can retarget visitors who have been on your website, back on Facebook. You can choose to retarget everyone who visits your website, just those taking a specific action, or those visiting specific pages of your website.

So while we’ve just covered the basics of the Facebook pixel here, there is no doubt that this little tool is packed with power. It can take a lot of the unknowns out of how well your Facebook ads are performing, and if your business is making any conversions from advertising. If you need assistance or just have questions about the Facebook pixel, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can help set your website up with the Facebook pixel, run Facebook Advertising for your business, or simply just answer a question you may have about the pixel.

Boomerang: 1-Second Video Loops Everyone Loves

What is Boomerang?

Boomerang is an Instagram app that allows you to create mini videos that continually loop back and forth (much like the toy “boomerang” itself.) The app essentially takes a quick burst of photographs and combines them together to make a soundless, 1-second video. It’s a fun and unique way to add something a little “extra” to your videos.

Why it’s great:

One word: simplicity. Anyone who’s used Boomerang before will tell you that it’s one of the simplest apps to use! Once the app is open, you only have to hold down one button to capture your mini video. The content of the video doesn’t need to be complex either, as you only have a brief moment to capture the subject in action.

Boomerang for your business:

Businesses can take advantage of Boomerang to showcase their products, services, and culture in a unique way. Users are more likely to engage with, and remember a Boomerang post more than they will a normal video. This is due to the quick succession and aesthetically pleasing way in which information is relayed.

For example, IKEA used a Boomerang to announce its new bicycle:

Vans captured its “free spirit” vibe with this Boomerang:

@leilahurst cutting loose like it's Friday. 📸 @jatecson #Regram from @vanssurf

A post shared by vans (@vans) on

Ulta Beauty frequently uses Boomerang to show off new product releases and makeup tutorials:

#Repost @lovemelisamichelle

A post shared by Ulta Beauty (@ultabeauty) on

Jus by Julie loves to promote a healthy lifestyle by featuring its employees eating its product:

Using the Boomerang app is simple, effective and engaging. With a video length so short, the possibilities of content are endless. Let your creative juices flow and spice up your Instagram posts with these mini videos.

Facebook Reactions: Friend or Foe?

Many of us use reactions to express how we feel about a certain post or ad in our Facebook feed, when texting our friends, posting on Instagram, or even when we send a Snap to our friends. Since Facebook Reactions were first introduced eight years ago with the thumbs up ‘Like’ button that later expanded with the ‘Haha’, ‘Love’, ‘Sad’, ‘Wow’ and ‘Angry’ buttons, these little icons have fast become a permanent fixture in the way we communicate on social media. In fact, it seems we have so many bottled up emotions to share that since Facebook first launched Reactions, we have used them over 300 billion times, totaling a whopping 800 million uses each day! 

The Facebook algorithm determines what content users see in their feeds at any given time. However, understanding Facebook’s algorithm is a bit of a science. Fortunately, in the last few years, Facebook has begun sharing more about how their news feed algorithm works, what it favors over what it doesn’t, and what it means for brands. Speculation by users finally got Facebook to admit that using Reactions impacts the way a user’s news feed looks. Furthermore, Facebook’s algorithm seems to focus more on the ‘Love’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Haha’ Reactions over the ‘Like’ button, allowing these little icons to decide what will appear in a user’s feed.

Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is an even stronger signal that they’d want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post. So we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person.
— Facebook quote via mashable.com

Although Facebook says all Reactions are currently looked upon equally, the ‘Love’ Reaction makes up more than half the Reactions shared. So how can brands use Reactions to their advantage? Through Facebook’s Reactions algorithm we have learned that women use Reactions more often than men, Wednesday is the most popular day for sending reactions, and that people are more likely to use 'Wow' for GIFs, shares, images and videos.

While Facebook continues to work on its algorithm, one way for a brand to ensure social success is to listen and respond to users’ reactions. After all, Reactions on Facebook are probably the best way to analyze your users’ sentiment. Good luck harvesting success using Facebook Reactions, and don’t forget we are only a call away should you require help managing your social community.