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Rhode Island Foundation invites you to share your thoughts at free community meet-ups May 3 and 5

PROVIDENCE, RI — The Rhode Island Foundation is inviting the public to share their thoughts about the issues that are important to them at free community get-togethers May 3 and May 5. The events are at the heart “TogetherRI,” a new initiative from the Foundation designed to get people talking face-to-face again in a time social media is becoming increasingly coarse and divisive.

 

“We’re giving you the opportunity to listen, reconnect and inspire civil dialogue at a time when people are more ‘connected’ via social media, yet more disconnected from each other personally than ever,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Our hope is that participants will meet someone new and will leave knowing that their voice was heard.”

 

The May 3 community dinner will be held at the Meehan Overlook, Governor Notte Park, 1801 Douglas Ave., North Providence, from 6 p.m. to 7:30p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and the doors will open at 5:45 p.m. People can register to attend at togetherri.org, but RSVPs are not required.

 

“This is a place for everyone – no matter where they live or what they care about – to come together to strengthen social connections, to be heard, to discuss opportunities and challenges and to strengthen the foundation of our community,” said Steinberg.

 

For people who cannot attend the North Providence event, a free community breakfast is scheduled for May 5 at the Elmwood Community Center, 155 Niagara St., Providence, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The doors will open at 8:45 a.m.

 

“Each and every Rhode Islander has a role to play in ensuring our collective success. These conversations will be a neutral place for dialogue on topics that are critical to our common future, and a place where we hope the recent tendency toward divisiveness and polarization will be left at the door,” said Steinberg.

 

Independent, professional facilitators will guide the sessions. The University of Rhode Island’s Social Science Institute for Research, Education, and Policy will review the information shared at TogetherRI conversations and from brief, anonymous, participant surveys. The Foundation expects to announce the topline results at its annual meeting May 24 and to release a complete report this summer. 

 

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.

A Simple Guide to Using Ads to Promote Your Content on Facebook

It’s something you’ve probably heard before: you need to use Facebook advertising to give your organic content a boost.

I’ve always been stronger at the organic side of marketing—SEO audits, creating inbound content, and writing.

That said, it’s getting incredibly hard to both rank in Google and get traction on social networks without some paid support.

With the help of Hootsuite’s social media marketing coordinator Christine Colling, I’ll walk you through the steps it takes to use Facebook ads to promote your content—from targeting the right audience to stretching tiny budgets.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How to make strategic decisions when it comes to promoting organic content
  • The ins and outs of demographic targeting
  • The secret to getting the most out of your ad budget
  • The key metrics that can make or break your ad campaigns

Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals how to boost organic reach, increase engagement, and turn followers into advocates on Facebook with the three types of content that audiences love.

Step 1: Find your best performing organic posts

“The simple strategy we use at Hootsuite is to promote content that is already performing well on Facebook,” explains Christine Colling. “Facebook’s advertising algorithm rewards engaging content, so you want to make sure that the content you promote will start conversations and earn engagements.”

To apply Colling’s tip, begin by analyzing your current Facebook content to see what’s already performing well. You can use a tool like Hootsuite Impact to gather this data. You can also try posting the content you want to promote on your Facebook page and see if it clicks with your audience.

If you have a tiny Facebook audience and never get traction for organic content, use Facebook’s Boost feature. Boosting your post is a cheap and fast way to see if your content will engage Facebook users. Spending a little budget here will help later when we go over how to build the full ad campaigns.

If you use Hootsuite, you can boost posts directly from your dashboard.

Step 2: Target the right audience

Once you’ve found a few pieces of content to promote, it’s time to build out your target audience.

One simple way to get started is to target people interested in your competitors, especially if those competitors have a large Facebook presence. You’ll also want to know a few basic things about your customers such as their general age and the cities or countries that most of them live in.

“A quick A/B test with Facebook can reveal some of this essential customer information,” says Colling. “Facebook will show you the top locations and demographics for people that engaged with your campaign.”

If you’d like to build a more sophisticated audience profile, use the categories below.

Demographics

Facebook’s demographic targeting options let you reach people based on traits like age, gender, relationship status, education, workplace, job titles, and more. If you’ve created audience personas, you should have a pretty good idea of which demographics you want to target.

Interests and behaviors

This type of targeting allows you to reach audience members based on their interests or, well, their behaviors. As Colling explains, “Match your interest targeting to the content—for example, in our TED Talks we targeted to people who liked TED Talks in addition to targeting the demographics from our customer persona.”

If you’re really looking to narrow down your audience, interests can sometimes be too broad. We recommend using the “But No One Else Would” trick. Think about what makes your audience unique. What are some things they would find useful or interesting, but no one else would? Find and focus on these niche areas to attract your target customers.

For example, if I’m trying to sell an advanced copywriting course, it would be a mistake to target people interested in “marketing” and even “copywriting,” as those categories are very broad. But if I target fans who have liked the page of the famed author and copywriting expert Robert Collier, those are serious students of the craft who have done their research—and who are much more likely to purchase a course.

Layer targeting

Use the process of layer targeting to narrow down your audience even more. The more specific and focused your audience is, the better chance your message will resonate.

For example, an investing platform and publisher like WealthSimple might target users with a college degree who have also liked the Wall Street Journal or another competitor.

You can also exclude people based on interests and demographics. So, a brand like WealthSimple might want to target people with college degree and who like one of their competitors. Than they can tell Facebook to exclude people who already like WealthSimple to be sure their content is being delivered to a new audience.

Device and timing

You need to be where—and when—your audience is active.

“A wedding company would know that their audience is likely female and online in the evenings and weekends,” explains Colling. “So with this information, you can turn your boost off during the day.”

You also need to consider what kind of device your audience is using most frequently, and when. They could be using a mobile device for their browsing or research purposes, but then a laptop when it comes time to actually buy.

With Facebook’s device-specific targeting options, you can initially target ads to one device as part of a brand awareness initiative, then target a different device to drive conversions, and another to complete the sale.

To get the most out of this feature, first identify the type of device you want to target depending on your campaign goals. Consider your target audience
and the devices they would be most likely to use based on their demographics and behavior.

Custom audience

Custom audiences let you find specific groups of people to target based on an existing set of data. This could include email lists, data from CRM systems such as HubSpot or Salesforce, and people who have liked your Facebook Page.

For example, if you want to reach people who have visited your brand or product page but haven’t purchased anything, you can create a custom audience to target these people.

Lookalike audience

Lookalike audiences help you “reach the people who are similar to your existing customer database—making them highly likely to convert as well.”

Once you’ve figured out what works for your custom audiences, you can create lookalike audiences from this data and show them similar ad content. If your main objectives are brand awareness and customer acquisition, a lookalike audience is the answer. Learn more about creating a lookalike audience with our blog post How to Create the Perfect Facebook Ad in 10 Minutes.

Step 3: Build your ad

It’s now time to build your Facebook ad.

“We’ve run successful static ads,” says Colling. “But if you can, you’ll see much higher returns from creating a video ad—for example, a short 15-second video that pitches why people should read or click through to your content.”

At Hootsuite, we’ve seen video ads consistently outperform static ads. Not everyone can afford a video team, but there are different tools such as Animotothat you can use to create inexpensive videos on any budget.

If a video is out of reach, make sure you do some A/B testing for your static ad. Facebook shows you which images are resonating. If you have the Facebook Pixel installed, you’ll also be able to see which images lead to conversions on your website.

Step 4: Set your budget

When it comes to your Facebook ad budget, there are two ways to define cost—overall amount spent and the cost per result. If you have a budget of $500 per month, this is your overall amount spent. If you divide this amount by the number of clicks (or other measurement), you get your cost per result.

At Hootsuite, the key areas we measure are cost-per-click, cost-per-result, and cost-per-engagement.

“We set targets for each of these so we can easily tell if something is underperforming—or draining our budget,” Colling explains. “We’ve done this at Hootsuite for years, so our targeting is very precise and our costs are low. Any brand that sticks to it and slowly refines their ad process will see their targeting improve and costs go down.”

While results can be achieved with any budget, you need to set realistic goals depending on your budget.

“Smaller budgets need smaller locations,” Colling explains. “You can’t spend $50 and target all of New York. Target a smaller area and for shorter time frame, such as a week. Make sure you’re targeting the right areas. Don’t target fancy Manhattanites with your time tracking software for plumbers—target New Jersey.”

In order to simplify the budgeting process, we recommend setting a daily budget. Divide your overall amount spent per month by days in the month to get this number. Then, set a reminder in your calendar to check on your budget and costs every day.

Pay attention to the more successful days (i.e., those with lower CPCs.) What did you do differently on those days? What steps can be replicated? Consider the variables that could have affected your results, and use this information to optimize your future campaign budget.

Step 5: Measure performance

One of the most significant errors social ad managers can make is forgetting to track how their ads are performing. If you forget—or don’t know how—to measure your ads properly, you can end up costing your business a lot of time and money.

Measuring your Facebook ads means paying attention to what’s working—and what isn’t.

“In the start, it’s important to check a lot. I recommend checking on your campaigns every 24 hours and 48 hours to make any tweaks. Once an ad is performing well, we’ll let it sit till the end of the campaign,” Colling explains.

When you closely monitor your ads, you’re able to quickly make decisions such as pausing or stopping ads that aren’t performing well. This lets you pour that budget back into top-performing ads. Monitoring your ads gives you the opportunity to make adjustments that will ultimately drive better results.

What to track

Before you begin any campaign, you need to establish performance metrics relevant to your objectives. According to Altimeter, only 34 percent of organizations feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.

If your objective is business conversions, for example, you might want to look at the number of leads driven by your Facebook ads.

“We track cost-per-conversion when our goal and main objective is conversions, Colling says. If someone signs up for a webinar or downloads a piece of content, we’re able to track the business impact of this.”

As we explain in our guide to proving social media ROI, there are three key questions to ask yourself when deciding what metrics to measure with your Facebook Ads:

  • Does it align with my objectives?
  • Does it help me make decisions?
  • Do I have the capacity to measure it effectively?

Reporting

Once you have your metrics in place and you start seeing results, it’s important to build reports. Collecting this data will help you make more informed campaign decisions in the future.

With Hootsuite Ads’ reporting tool, you have the ability to customize PDF reports in minutes. With drag-and-drop tools, you can display key elements and metrics in a format that makes sense for your business. These reports can easily be white-labeled and set up for automated delivery directly to your inbox.

Benchmarking

It can be difficult to measure success if you don’t know what a successful campaign looks like in your industry. Hootsuite Ads gives you the most up-to-date Facebook and Instagram advertising metrics for your industry so you can make informed decisions around your advertising campaigns.

“We also use AdEspresso for automatically promoting content, which is a big time saver. You can set a threshold for when you boost a post, such as five shares—which means I don’t have to manually do this,” Colling shares.

5 Creative Ways Content Labeling Can Make You a Better Social Marketer

Two weeks ago, we published an introduction to content labeling, explaining why it is such a crucial piece of the social analytics puzzle. Content labeling is an easy way to group and segment owned, competitive, and influencer posts. Why would you want to do that? So you can analyze particular pieces of your strategy and get really granular and official about what works for your brand.

10 Social Lessons from Instagram Innovators

As a product marketer, I spend a lot of time in the weeds with our customers, learning more about the creative ways they use our tools. Customers constantly amaze me with the creative ways they use content labeling. Below are the five most powerful ways I’ve seen content labeling used.

1. Owned Campaign Benchmarking

One of the most common ways our customers use content labeling is to track the performance of a given campaign on a deeper level, so they can generate insights that are actionable next time around.

Simply Measured Social Analytics

One travel client used content labeling to report on the success of their 2017 holiday campaign, they and wanted to give more context about the strides they had made over the past year. The client labeled their holiday posts from 2017, as well as the posts from 2016. By viewing 2017’s success side-by-side with 2016, the team was able to show common themes, reactions, and growth to management—and gain insight for their 2018 campaign.

2. Influencer Tracking

Influencer tracking is one of the most important use cases for content labeling. Trying to isolate the posts that someone publishes on your behalf can add huge amounts of time to your reporting process.

Simply Measured Social Analytics

Labeling these posts saves our clients time and helps them get a sense for the return they get from each influencer. One client took it a step further and compared all of their influencers to see which ones were worth the money and which ones they should drop.

3. Competitive Analysis

Content labeling enables you to get specific with how you stack up against your competitors. While overall benchmarking is a key part of any social analysis, it is equally important to understand how your competitors package content around certain products, campaigns, or services.

Content Labeling is a part of Simply Measured Social Analytics.

One of our clients in the tech space recently released a new product and wanted to compare their product’s social performance to a similar product produced by a competitor. The team labeled content centered on their key product and used the same label for their competitor’s content about the competing product. By comparing one product’s performance against another, the client understood their own performance, their competitor’s performance, and exactly what content resonates best for their shared audience.

4. Demographic Analysis

Many of our customers use content labeling to understand how their content is resonating with different markets.

Segment your social content our across multiple channels, by age range.

A bank, for example, wanted to target a younger demographic and started creating posts about getting a home loan and ways to refinance student loans. Their team used content labeling to segment out those posts and compare performance to those of their posts targeting an older demographic.

5. CTA Analysis

One of the finest lines we walk as marketers is the balance between sales and community building. We want spaces to be relevant and inviting, but, at the end of the day, our organizations need to sell something to survive.

Content labeling can help you test various CTAs and ways of packaging CTAs to see which posts or groupings of posts drive the most the most business value. As an example, we can check out the three images below from Under Armour’s recent release of clothing from everyone’s favorite: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. We could easily compare the more direct “shop now” to the softer “Get closer to your dreams” CTA. Which drives more clicks over time?

Be A Star! It’s a tool in your marketing toolbox…

By Nancy Thomas

I wish I had videoed the heated exchange at a recent networking group – what a missed
opportunity! A little over done debate about video and if video was marketing or was it really
advertising. The discussion festered into a debate over email, and on and on. What’s the big
deal? The difference is, of course, are you paying a 3 rd party to have your video put in front of
people – or are you using a longer form of video to tell a story over channels that are for the
most part free and accessible in the “new world” of marketing?

In today’s world of marketing and public relations – and yes, advertising – the messages are
becoming shorter and shorter. No longer is “long form” the most desirable way to get your
message across. Yesterday’s Facebook posts – are today’s Snapchat, Instagram, or even
Pinterest posts. Sometimes they are even a quick 5-10 seconds over a text-video message!
Just listen to these social media channel names – SNAPChat – and INSTAgram. Quick. Today. In
my face, give it to me – quick – so I can move on to the next thing. And it better be compelling,
or it won’t even reach the part of my brain that has room left to remember in this over-
communicated world.

So how does video come to play in all this rush to quick messaging. It has become even the
lowest common denominator – appealing to someone’s sense of visual processing – I don’t
even have to read this – just show me.

Now that we now WHY we are all rushing to video – HOW do we do it? Is it a quick Facebook
live? Or is it a painstakingly laborious and expensive 30 second commercial for a medium that
is losing audience numbers exponentially with each ratings period that goes by?

Video is part of marketing. If your marketing company isn’t doing it – or pushing you into
thinking all must be PERFECT to do it – then seek other advice. You don’t need to best lighting,
the best copy, the perfect scenario. Even the perfect technology. But you do need to catch
someone’s attention. And you need to speak in sound bites with grabbing visuals.

What to video?

Speak right straight into the camera and tell your story, talk about an upcoming event or sale,
or give them some useful information they need. Take a tour of your company, or store. Stop
and talk to people along the way. Do something unrelated to your company, too, to
personalize the message – show someone how to safely shovel snow – or how to pick out the
best apples in the grocery store. If you have a new product, video opening up the package as it
comes into your building. A nonprofit? Interview a client about what going to their fundraising
event will mean to them…the sky’s the limit – and don’t be all just about business.

 

Of course there are those times when things might not be “popping” about your message – or
the message is just too serious and well, mundane. In that case, tell the viewer right up front –
you’re going to talk at them, give them necessary information – and it’s information that they
want.

Cut it into segments – 3 minutes or less. The attention span has to be kept top of mind. Break
your mundane “lesson” or “message” into a series – 3 parts – or 6 parts – or once a week, even.
But keep to that 3 minutes or less video marketing message. Otherwise? Make a mini-movie –
or a 20-minute YouTube video – and place it appropriately with a little teaser up front – some
people will take the time to watch, but you have to literally lead them there.

What to do with it now?
Once you’ve done this little 3 minute video, now what do you do with it? Think multi-use. You
can put it on your website. Upload it to all your social media. Don’t forget LinkedIn. Send it out
to your client base in an email link. Upload it to a Constant Contact mailing or an e-newsletter.
Nothing you do today should be done for one simple format. Think multiple use – multiple
channels.

So – is video marketing advertising? I suppose it can be if you want to run a long form video ad
on someone’s website…but I would never advise it – that should look much more like the 30
second commercial you would see on traditional television.
Another tool for your toolbox.

Video is a tool. Just like a podcast is a tool. Or photographer is a tool. It is a great, short,
informal way to tell your story. Make it short – but longer than a TV ad (that no one is watching)
…think about the multiple channels of use. Don’t fuss and fret to make it perfect. If you’re
really bold do some Facebook LIVE – and again, repurpose it after the fact.

In this over-communicating world, take your message to video – let them see you, hear you,
and always leave them wanting for more – and give them a website or a click through with how
they can get the information.

If you move to traditional TV advertising or even YouTube production, then that is where you
will want to invest in lighting, professional sound and production – because you’ll be paying for
some of these placements – and you’ll want to make sure you look your Sunday best!

Otherwise, it’s super casual, super easy, right in your face, and wow them. Try it
today…remember, no fussing, just don’t it! Start right with that phone in your hand, set that
photo app to video – and have some fun.

You can be a star…and it starts with video marketing. Go for it! And – smile…
Nancy Thomas is public relations and marketing consultant, and is the owner of Tapestry
Communications, in Cranston, RI.

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