Last year generated great uncertainty for many entrepreneurs. However, one thing is certain for 2021: marketing connections to social media will only increase as consumers continue to embrace platforms such as Instagram and Facebook for information regarding everything from entertainment to product research. In a world stocked with 3.6+ billion social media users, Marlin Consulting Solutions (MCS) is known for flawlessly handling social media trends while building clientele leverage against the competition.
Social media will mirror online shopping as many business owners convert to a predominately online-based business. Instagram and Facebook already have shopping capability, however additional platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat are now in the race to establish solid marketing opportunities for businesses. Social media platforms that have lagged in this race will strive to develop similar conveniences for consumers while building new and different opportunities for businesses to acquire sales online. Marlin Consulting Solutions is skilled in navigating the changing social media landscape and employs experts who handle basic profile management, content, posts and comment responses, and target audience expansion while implementing ingenious custom branding as needed.
“Snackable” & Engaging content will be valued above production quality. Why? Because consumers will watch live streams and videos regardless of the quality of the media as long as it provides value. Marlin experts know that audiences find lower quality, home-made, or “raw” productions to be humanizing; they are more apt to form a personal connection to the advertised product or service. MCS predicts an increase in “bare-bones” social media marketing over the next year as lonely (or quarantined) consumers flock to what they deem to be a more relational means of social media marketing.
“Snackable”, brief social media continues to be the content which consumers crave. No one wants to sit in front of a 45-minute infomercial, especially in the wake of shrinking attention spans. Marlin Consulting Solutions implements multiple strategies such as quote graphics, infographics, memes, and Gifs to achieve snackable content.
Video will remain the most popular means of content marketing. Rated as the second most engaging social media type of content, MCS expects consumer video consumption to spike significantly in 2021, especially given the world’s current pandemic crisis. Last year, business conferences, events, and marketing campaigns had no recourse but to shift to an online presence and consumers flocked to live streaming as a means of up-to-date communication. Social media platforms have transitioned to stronger live streaming services, tutorials, and additional content in order to engage consumer following. Marlin Consulting Services can utilize social media platforms as a means of streaming events for consumers who are unable to leave home straight to their private computer screens, cell phones, Apple watches, and IPads.
Less will be more. The MCS team expects to see more relational and in touch with life posting and a reduction in the frequency of less significant, “quickie” posts. In other words, Marlin Consulting Solutions focuses on thoughtful content that generates value while facilitating human connection rather than shooting aimlessly for a large quantity of generic posts. MCS grants audience consideration regarding viewer expectations and what consumers want to hear versus adherence to cold, less personal algorithms. Thoughtfulness goes much farther than ever before as evidenced by audiences who find value in brands who practice this principle. As a result, it is only natural for conversational marketing to change tones in messaging channels and other forms of digital conversation.
Authenticity will be paramount to successful social media marketing. Marlin Consulting Solutions has worked with businesses that have serviced discouraged clients during trying times further enhanced by the onset of COVID-19. As a result, consumers are more interested in looking for a brand in which they can invest than finding a good deal. Marlin professionals respond to said consumers with complete authenticity; a touch of humanity which may be accessed via social media. This process is achieved by tapping into user-generated content and client testimonials, offering a more customer-focused, caring approach to social media marketing. This strategy yields consumer trust and brand awareness as the content acts as a means of building a business-consumer relationship, forcing business-to-customer accountability. Marlin Consulting Solutions predicts that authenticity will become a product in and of itself in 2021 as consumers flock toward empathy and advocacy while ditching fake-it-til-you-make-it marketing gimmicks.
Educational, conversational marketing will nurture consumers to conversion. As previously mentioned, humanity must replace the robot effect in social media marketing. Consumers are weary of inhuman, non-relational, irrelevant products and services. The new conversation needs to emote, relate, recognize, respond and engage target audiences. Marlin Consulting Solutions blends human interaction and artificial intelligence enabling businesses to achieve authenticity in social media marketing.
Increased social media in-game advertising opportunities. COVID-19 brought about an enormous spike in gaming by more than 10 million admitted gamers in 2020. Platforms such as Snapchat have introduced mini-game apps and additional social media outlets are following suit. This means that gaming and social media will soon form the perfect marriage birthing additional avenues by which to target consumers. Marlin Consulting Solutions predicts that social media in-game advertising will increase in 2021.
Social Media Marketing is not optional and is a necessary component of the marketing plan, ever-changing as it rises to meet constantly evolving consumerism. Marlin Consulting Solutions accepts the challenge in continuing to research trends and study customer behavior while analyzing clientele social media data as our team of professionals produce strategic means by which to achieve successful social media marketing campaigns.
You’ve been grinding and putting in hard work on driving the growth of your business all year and the gears just won’t stop turning! Before you know it—the holidays are right around the corner and you have yet to put anything together to bolster the online presence for your business during this time. Most notably, for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday holidays.
Don’t worry, it’s not too late!
There are a few last minute things you could do reach out to your client base and following to drive sales. But before we dive right in, what are these two holidays for anyway?
What is Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
Black Friday falls on the the day after Thanksgiving Day and is highly regarded as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season here in the US.
Cyber Monday is the term used for the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday. Marketers call it “Cyber Monday” to encourage more online shopping sales.
Now that we’re all caught up on the holidays, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to effectively reach your clients during this holiday block.
Last Minute Social Media Push
It very may well go without saying—use social media to your advantage!
For the most part, social media is a free way to get the word out to your customer base to capture more sales for your business. There is also more potential to reach new leads from outside traffic leading back to your website. Use these channels to push any Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, specials and promotions out to your followers.
Catch Attention & Be Purposeful
There are plenty of other businesses out there that are also posting all over social media with you, so aside from all of the warm Thanksgiving updates on their news feed, your potential customers may already be bombarded with plenty of social media advertisement already—talk about distracted.
You’ll need to catch their attention quickly, or they’ll more than likely skip anything you have to offer entirely.
A good way to attract attention to your ad is to create one that:
- Catches your attention and conveys the purpose instantaneously – Online users are constantly scrolling through their news feeds for information, and for the most part, it only takes but a moment for someone to pass over a post. Create an image that could capture the attention of your target audience and input copy that best reflects your promotion in a way that would click with the viewer instantaneously.
Need a quick example? Take a look at the header image for this blog post!
- Ideally, create a video – Social media channels are embracing the video medium more and more—and this could be seen in the way that video now auto-play as users scroll through their news feed. If there is more information that you need your ad to convey, creating a video could effectively send the message out over an image and extra text.
- Make it easy to redeem your promotion – Do not simply post your image or video along with the URL of your website—make sure that your link is clickable. Adding a button that will prompt your viewer to click through to your website makes it even easier for both you and them!
The Traditional E-Mail Blast
Do not underestimate the power of the traditional e-mail! Your contact list is already filled with current customers and relevant leads that subscribed to your list for you to continue to engage with. Use it!
You’ll be able to reel in the repeat business of your loyal customers by executing e-mail campaigns for Black Friday & Cyber Monday. This would be one of the more easier methods to drive business as your customers have already engaged in a transaction with your business—making it more likely that they would like to do business with you again.
Offer Exclusive Deals
Let’s give your existing customers even more incentive to take action. Create a promotion or exclusive deal that is only accessible to your current customers and subscriber list within a specific timeframe.
By offering an exclusive deal only to current customers and making sure that they are aware that it only offered to them within a set time, it prompts a sense of urgency such as, “ this is a great deal—I better buy it now!”
Optimize Your Online Presence
It is imperative that you ensure that the online presence for your business is ready and accurate for this holiday season.
Ensure that your business listing is correct
Take a look at Google, Bing, Apple and any other search engines that you have listings with to verify that the information that is listed is indeed correct. To ensure this, check on the following points:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website link
- Hours of operation
If you have a physical location for your business, another helpful point for your customers would be to submit a picture of the specific location so that they could find you more easily.
Set up your PPC campaigns now
It’s not too late to utilize pay-per-click advertising. This method is a relatively easy way to set up advertisement within an affordable budget, and once you’ve gotten your PPC ad going, it will quickly be displayed at the top of the search results page.
There is a limited amount of space to input comprehensive ad copy—so make sure to make a couple of different ad groups (for ex., one for Black Friday and Cyber Monday), and several different ads to target different products or services that you would like to focus on.
Busy Shoppers Demand Efficient Customer Service
Customers won’t want to waste time on slow or subpar customer service and won’t mind taking their business elsewhere during this season—especially with all of the other deals they could be taking advantage of!
Make it worth their while by stepping it up a notch in your customer service. The growth of your business will speak for itself afterwards!
Keep the Momentum Going throughout the Holidays
After your quick social media push and e-mail marketing campaigns for Black Friday & Cyber Monday, make sure to set up a way to capture new leads into your database for the future. Use these new leads and subscribers in your contact list and keep in touch. Keep these followers engaged with regular news and updates about your business.
If you have a customer or a potential lead that is not already in your mailing list—make sure that they are on your mailing list! Figure out a relatively easy way for online users to subscribe to more content from you.
From here, you could continue the cycle and keep on driving your business forward.
Best of luck, and Happy Holidays!
Other Related Resources
Social media. Social media. Social media. If you tap your heels together and say it three times will you magically have accounts on all the big networks? Unfortunately, no. BUT on a positive note every new social media boom gives you and your business a new opportunity to grab someone’s attention. Let’s talk Instagram.
I am a new member of the Instagram trend and I have to be honest, I like it. The quick photo uploads, the filters, the interaction with my favorite athletes and actors, it’s pretty cool. I want to make sure the Marlin family is riding the Instagram wave because they now have EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION MONTHLY AND FIVE HUNDRED DAILY ACTIVE USERS. That is a huge number. Another huge number is the TWO MILLION advertisers now on the site. Instagram is the current “hotness” and the opportunity to reach completely new and different potential clientele is one of the biggest reasons to join the Insta fam.
Instagram users are generally younger and more tech / social media savvy than Facebook. More importantly, the amount of time Insta users watch videos is up 80% from last year. 80%. I cannot overstate the significance of a number like 80%. It is fantastically quick and easy to a) set up an Insta account and b) post your own videos. When you post videos it allows potential customers to “meet you” and in this day and age of FaceTime, SnapChat, What’s App, and Google, the personal connection has become a driving force for consumers.
Join the movement 🙂 Marlin can help with your social media program and put you over the top! I promise you won’t regret it.
SSL Certificates, what are we even talking about? SSLs is the backbone of Internet security by protecting information as it travels the web. Often website owners balk at purchasing SSLs if their webpage isn’t set up for online shopping/money exchange. That is a mistake. SSL’s provide critical items like privacy, data integrity, and protection for your website and visitors to your page. SSLs digitally bind cryptographic keys to a website’s details. When Marlin installs an SSL on your server, it activates the padlock you see in your address bar and “https”. This creates secure connections between server and browser, protecting everyone.
Why do you need an SSL, especially if you are not running an e-commerce site? Data security between servers is increased. Your Google Ranking automatically increases when you provide your users with SSL protection. Trust is built and enhanced with your customer base when they know you’re doing your part to protect them. Should you have a form that visitors must fill out – whether it’s for an inquiry or something else to gathers information from the user, this type of data collection would prompt for the verification of your SSL. If you do not currently have an SSL on your website, then the user will be see the “unsecured content” message on their screen before they could proceed to the next page.
If a customer can trust that your site is safe and protected, then you will see your conversion rates increase!
Now you’re ready to jump into the SSL game, what next? SSL certificates must be issued from a trusted Certificate Authority. Marlin can help you through this entire process and can provide a list of trusted CA root certificates. Give Marlin a call and our experts will get you and your website ready to go!
Take a look at the different SSL certificates that we offer.
We are reaching the end of our social media video series, so we’re going to hit on the last few things to avoid. I think some of these suggestions are fairly easy to avoid but also VERY easy to fall into. For example, overly lengthy videos. It’s easy to tell yourself to keep a video short and sweet. But once you get started with your “how-to” or “show and tell” your video can quickly get away from you. We’ve seen what social media has done to attention spans. They are virtually nonexistent these days. My blogs are rarely more than 3 paragraphs because I know I can’t hold onto my readers for a long drawn out tome. And that’s okay! You just need to keep the facts in mind when filming. How about this for more to worry about? Facebook videos will play automatically on someone’s news feed but with NO SOUND. So you also have to make sure you can grab attention with a video on mute!
While you are obviously creating these videos to advertise your product, you have to be careful not to force your products on your users. To add to the challenges you’re already facing you’ve also got to balance your advertising efforts with not making it feel like a commercial. Some of that comes with trial and error as you learn what your audience is into. Think of it as building an audience, not selling to them. Avoid mentioning your product in your videos, especially if you’re offering “how-to” lessons. Again, you’re building a relationship with existing and potential clientele so you want to try to focus your efforts on camaraderie, not money.
As always, Marlin is here to assist in any endeavor for your business and your website. If you’d like to dive into the social media video world we will jump in right there with you!
Let’s discuss some of the things you want to avoid when building your social media video presence. First, don’t just shoot for the biggest target. Just because Facebook has almost 2 billion users doesn’t mean they want to see what you’re putting out there. You have to find the right audience. Depending on your business, LinkedIn may be your best option; if you’re selling jewelry, clothing, or similar products, Pinterest or Instagram may work best. There are enough platforms for every type of business to find their niche!
When you get started it’s important you don’t use the spaghetti approach. You can’t just throw everything at a wall and see what sticks. If you try that, you’re going to have significant trouble building your audience. You need to create consistent content to build a consistent audience that looks for your videos as you post them to social media. Obviously if something unexpected or exciting happens you don’t miss that opportunity but surprise or unusual posts should not replace your regular consistent content schedule.
Come see us at Marlin if you’re ready to get your social media video campaign started!
Online video is becoming the medium of choice in the digital world. Did you know there are a BILLION YouTubers? Facebook and Snapchat are racking up as many as 8 BILLION video views per day between them. We’re talking in the billions, 3 commas for you “Silicon Valley” tv show fans.
The danger here is jumping in without taking a moment to understand the medium. Fun fact, predictions are that 74% of all web traffic will be video by the end of this year. Most significantly, businesses that have focused on video for their marketing efforts have seen an increase in conversion rates. This means that video is becoming the a more effective driver of sales than traditional options.
Some key characteristics of a social video are viewers will want to share it, it will encourage audience engagement, and it is optimized so it is easy to upload or share on social media platforms. Remember social videos are not trying to be viral videos. Your goal with a social video is to create interest in your product among your target audience.
We are just beginning our exploration of social videos. Check back next week for more about social video and how to apply it to your website plan!
This the concept that deals with the idea of avoiding superficial posting. Content these days has become quite superficial and that does prospective customers no good. The goal with content should be to highlight your uniqueness, your differences, from your competition. The challenge comes with keeping it interesting. Getting truly lengthy and in-depth on your website can take you straight down the rabbit hole and you’ll lose your audience.
Creating your dense content is only half the battle.
The other part is identifying what works best with your audience. Is shorter content better? Or something more creative and in-depth? Based on that kind of feedback you can focus on keywords and be specific to your product or service and price. If you can get more creative you may prefer more shorter write ups to draw in your audience without overwhelming them. Finally, be sure to include local terms or locations of significance that will mean something to your clients. Phew! Lots to remember but the most important part is to stay connected to your clientele. Try to put yourself in their shoes as you work your write ups. Lucky for you, Marlin specializes in dense content and local clientele!
As obvious as this seems, you’d be amazed how difficult it can be to find this information on a business homepage. Aside from the basic importance of letting potential customers know how to contact you, NAP data is actually used by search engines when local searches are performed. If your NAP is prominently part of your website, each time it is cited in directories or web searches counts toward your local SEO. To ensure absolute maximization, you’ll want to add all of your business’ details to your Google My Business listing.
Part of the NAP puzzle is accessibility. You need to keep your NAP data consistent, easy, and straightforward to make it easy for Google and other search engines to snap it up. Another little tip, Don’t put your address and contact info in an image. Business owners tend toward flashy, eye catching images and graphics but typing actual text is better for SEO purposes.
Interestingly enough, in the last two years people have been using questions more and more instead of keyword searches. Google has begun returning search results that don’t require users to click on search results to get details. You can even test this thesis. Search a famous person on Google, their details will show as a “knowledge panel.” If you type in a question like “how to” or “where is” and you’ll get a Featured Snippet at the top of your results page or a map with locations and Google My Business listings.
Who cares, right? But imagine what that sort of return will do for your business when a potential new customer is on the hunt for a convenient nearby option and you pop up with all your data AND a mapped location. You’ve taken the variables out of the game and guided someone directly to you. Everybody wins!
When I talk about POEM, I’m not trying to start a conversation about iambic pentameter, I’m actually addressing three of the main channels you should utilize for a strong content marketing plan. Paid, Owned, Earned Media. Let’s take a closer look.
Paid media is really just advertising. That said, there are so many paid avenues in this giant digital world than most of us usually utilize. We all know the traditional routes you can take: newspapers, magazines, online publications. But today paid advertising also covers Facebook and Twitter. It is now possible, even popular, to pay a small fee for sponsored posts or tweets on everyone’s favorite social media sites.
Owned. This covers your website, a members’ magazine, email lists, even photographs or Facebook pages. You certainly aren’t paying yourself to use owned media, keep in mind that it isn’t free. You are still paying money to maintain or create all of these outlets.
Earned. An interesting term, it applies to the publicity or coverage anything or anyone affiliated with your business receives from media. Media now applies to anything from traditional news to digital publications, to facebook, you name it. Historically this was referred to as free rather than earned but it isn’t really free. Odds are you paid to create the event being covered!
Now that we’ve defined the terms, why is this idea so magical? Traditionally when these three ideas are combined properly, content has a better chance of reaching the most people in the proper target audience. This is not just a small business idea. Large corporations are now utilizing POEM in their advertising strategy by adjusting their budget allocations toward earned and owned mediums. U.S. automakers are a great example. When the 2015-16 models came out, their own websites were covered in photos, details, pricing, options, the whole nine yards. Media outlets like Consumer Reports did major articles on all the new models, breaking down each in detail. And finally, the “new” media jumped in. Blogs, television shows all chimed in with their narrative and opinions on these vehicles.
Most of us are working on a much smaller level than the gigantic car companies, but we can boost Facebook posts or step up our personal website game utilizing someone like us at Marlin. The key is strategy. Boost content that has historically done well. Be wary of taking a wild shot in the dark on some new idea. Make your money count. Let Marlin help you do that. Give us a call, we’re waiting for you!