Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Art of Trolling as a Marketing Strategy by the Bard of Bat Yam (#BardOfBatYam) , Poet LaureateOf Zion (#POetLaureateOfZion) and Stephen Darori


We were once responsible for describing our own tastes, which meant we sometimes lied about them. At the very least, we had strategically selective memories. I could tell you which Pitchfork bands I’d been loving lately — conveniently omitting how many times I’d listened to the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar in the past week. I might’ve talked up a sleeper indie film only playing in a handful of arthouse theaters, mentioning how the director had become a favorite of mine, without admitting that I’d seen Blade II twice. It used to be up to friends and family to call out our trashier interests.

But streaming services have put an end to that. Each year-end now brings massive number dumps from the likes of Spotify and Netflix, as if to remind us exactly how much personal information they can hoover up through users’ relationship to entertainment. Perversely enough — and to a strange acclaim in the world of creative marketing — these two digital giants have used their extensive findings to roast their outlying customers.

In 2016, Spotify made a splash with an ad campaign that drew on the inexplicable (or all-too-telling) activity of individuals who use the app. “Dear person who made a playlist called ‘One Night Stand With Jeb Bush Like He’s a Bond Girl in a European Casino’: We have so many questions,” read one billboard. Another, gracing the side of Manhattan’s Port Authority, where millions must have read it: “Dear person who played ‘Sorry’ 42 times on Valentine’s Day: What did you do?” Who knows if the anonymously burned parties ever saw the signs, but if so, they probably started investing in a vinyl collection.

Netflix followed suit this week, shaming streamers for a host of embarrassing behaviors. The company reported that someone in the U.K. had watched Bee Movie — the 2007 animated film starring Jerry Seinfeld, which has aged into canonical meme status — a whopping 357 times this year. Someone else watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie every single day. Netflix even somehow came up with a list of TV shows that “got us cheating,” i.e., watching ahead of our significant others. And over on Twitter, they mocked a small demographic clearly obsessed with the rom-com A Christmas Prince.

While the tweet appeared to have the intended effect — high engagement and people chuckling about the savage own — it also drew criticism from people creeped out by the close monitoring, as well as the implication that Netflix employees had made a sport of cherry-picking data.

While Spotify corporate has some creative distance from the musicians accessible on the platform, Netflix made and distributed this evidently shitty Christmas movie. Who are they to interrogate its fans? Shouldn’t they be happy to release a hit? And are we about to see McDonald’s put “a certain U.S. president” on blast for inhaling 600 Big Macs this year? It’s hard to think of a precedent for trolling-as-branding. True, the Twitter account for Wendy’s has gotten snarky now and then — but usually at rival restaurants or people who dissed them first. It’s totally different to slam the people who turn your profit. Then again, it squares perfectly with brands’ attempts to come off as just another witty social media friend. At this point, they’re even having conversations among themselves.

This tone reflects an understanding, in the social media departments of various media properties and food franchises, etc., that traditional promotional language is scorned by people who are online to goof around, get news, or share passions. Denny’s was one of the first to recognize this, amassing a following by adopting the surrealist style of Weird Twitter. But the flip side to this chill vibe is the casual put-down — the sort of ribbing that’s expected and fine between real friends but not altogether appropriate from Big Brother.

On balance, maybe we’d rather not have the receipts of our internet diet read back to us every December, and no website makes that clearer than Facebook. Whether it’s asking you to celebrate a “friendaversary” with someone you haven’t spoken to since a falling out or bumping a somber status on the death of a loved one via the “On This Day” feature, the social network can’t stop rehashing all the stuff we’d rather forget. (Facebook’s 2017 in review videos have been more depressing than usual, highlighting painful posts regarding sexual harassment, mass shootings and natural disasters.)

Aside from the idiocy of an app surfacing touchy old content it thinks will inspire nostalgia — or quirky stats that serve to humiliate unnamed losers — we’ve never needed tech to help us take stock of a year. The whole point of a memory is that the experiences with true impact will overshadow the granular noise of a daily routine. Things are supposed to slip through the cracks; we are not designed to retain it all, just as we are not meant to process the quantity and scale of human chaos that floods our brains when we log on in the morning. By guessing who we are through our patterns of consumption, Netflix and Spotify instead affirm that nobody is defined by what they binge or their guilty pleasures. It is no more truthful an assessment than the self-conscious one we offer when trying to impress a crush who asks what we’re into.

Given the choice, I’ll always prefer that slight dishonesty to the cruelty of an algorithm.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Rules of Brand Strategy by the Sage of Bat Yam(#SageOfBatYam) and Stephen Darori (@stephendarori, #stephendarori, #stephendrus)

A list of things that will scare you.

OK, well maybe not scare you, but definitely make you a little nervous. If you look at this list and think, “Oh yeah, my brand is totally on it,” then you’re not trying hard enough and your company is leaving money on the table.

Brand strategy is a moving target and no matter how many strategies I create for clients big or small, new or established, I always get nervous at the beginning of the process.
Finding the hidden truth — that one giant opportunity in the landscape —

These two things that perfectly connect consumer behaviors, beliefs, trends and time to your company’s core competencies while making competitors irrelevant feels like fitting a key into a lock. Finding that key is rarely an easy process.

Branded vs. Brand-Led
The difference matters.

Branded companies have an identity, but consumers truly identify them by their products. When a product supersedes the brand, a company is always at the mercy of the consumer and their needs.

American Apparel and Old Navy are branded companies. They have an identity, but if the market demands lower prices or generic styles, American Apparel and Old Navy are forced to follow.
This principle holds true in all spaces, from tech to food to consumer packaged goods.

Brand-led companies, in contrast, play the long game and require more investment. The identity of the brand supersedes the product and allows a company to resist certain market forces.

Nike and Shinola are brand-led companies that can release distinct new product categories and occupy different price levels. The brand vision, not mass consumer pressures, dictate growth.
Only One Wrong Choice
Know what you’re doing.

Brand-led may sound better than Branded, or the other way around, but there is no right or wrong option here.
Each has pros and cons.

Branded companies tend to grow quickly and extract a lot of market value early on. Brand-led companies create movements and have more market authority once they find their ideal positioning.

The only wrong option is to not make a conscious decision about which kind of company you are. I meet many founders who fail to ask themselves what kind of brand strategy they want to employ, and as a result default into the Branded category… when they want to be Brand-led.

The list below can work as a cheat sheet for anyone, but it’s focused for Brand-led startups that want to define a clear, defensible strategy.

If nothing else, remember that if you want your Brand-led company to attract more upmarket customers, it’s critical to maintain a specific point of view — a key differentiator between Branded and Brand-led.

While product is at the heart of any business, you’re building a strong, compelling narrative that lives outside of it.

16 Rules To Guide You

If you’re developing your strategy, use this list to guide you. If you already have one in place, use this list to test it.

Most importantly, read this through a brand lens. When I mention companies below, measure them by their brand identities, not their product offerings.
1. Don’t play in someone else’s backyard.

Strong brands are unique. They say and do something different than other brands. They take a unique tone, follow a controversial belief or see the future through a different lens.

Many spaces with two major players fall into a “better” trap. Box’s brand is abetter version of Dropbox, but that does nothing to differentiate them. Better is actually worse. Different is what matters.
2. Be specific.

This is truer than ever. In such fragmented and noisy markets, you can either speak loudest (a huge marketing budget) or be the most resonant (the right message for the right audience.) For 99% of companies, being the loudest is not a viable option.

Specific wins hearts and minds. [I get deeper into the matter of specificity here: Two Questions At The Heart Of Every Great Brand Strategy.]
3. Lead with the story, not the product.

Even when it’s about the product there needs to be an emotional narrative. Otherwise you’re just another branded company with a smart product, but no real brand vision.

Even tax software can give you the feels.

4. Answer the why.

Simon Sinek pioneered the concept of answering the ‘why’ and it’s worth your time to watch.

This will seem deceptively simple, but once you get it, you’ll see branding very differently.
I’ll admit even I brushed this off as overly obvious marketing jargon when I first watched it, but there’s a great deal of depth to this simple concept.

The why is not your vision, not your mission, and not your promise. It’s your reason for existing, and it answers the question, “Why should I care?”

5. Look for triggers. Speak to the subtext.

What your consumers say and what they mean are oftentimes two different things. Pay attention to what’s really being said. Margo Aaron captures this idea brilliantly in her discussion of how the best marketers read minds:
She says: “I try to cook 3x a week. I just don’t have time.”
Untrained ear hears: “She’s busy. She really wants to be healthier. We need to emphasize convenience and low-cal in our marketing!”
Trained ears hear: “She wants to cook because she thinks she should, but honestly she doesn’t give AF. It’s not a priority for her. She just feels guilty about how much she orders take out. She’d be happier if she allowed herself to not feel like shit about how much she orders out.”

6. Easing cognitive dissonance is good. Cheating cognitive dissonance is better.

Cognitive dissonance occurs “when your ideas, beliefs, or behaviors contradict each other.” If you think you’re financially responsible but then feel guilty spending $400 on a new pair of shoes, you’re experiencing the weight of cognitive dissonance.

If you can find ways to ease cognitive dissonance with your product, great. But if you can find ways to cheat it through your brand narrative, it can be incredibly powerful. P.S., that’s exactly the mechanism at play in the example for rule #5 above.

I dive into cheating cognitive dissonance here: The Cognitive Dissonance Hiding Behind Strong Brands.

7. Spotlight the customer, not the company.

This is an iteration of the age-old best practice, “benefits not features.” When looking at user experience, content, packaging, even homepage menus, you should position language not only to speak to the benefits, but benefits that spotlight the customer. Marie Forleo gives a quick overview of it here.

8. Don’t define against a competitor.

As long as you define yourself against a competitor, your identity is tethered to theirs and will always be limited. People make this mistake in a variety of different ways: creating nearly identical (but perhaps “better”) website experiences, referencing competitors in content or mimicking sales strategies.

If you’re truly a brand-led company, you need to send the signal that those other players don’t even register on your radar.

9. Speak your secret language.

Strong brands have their own secret language. One of my favorite examples is Milk Makeup, where I’ve had my own secret language experience as a consumer:
In a sea of gold black and red, you will always be able to spot the sterile white Milk Makeup kiosk in Sephora. In fact, you’ll be drawn to it. Models faces are captured at odd angles, whose looks range from androgynous to tomboyish to ultra feminine.
This isn’t just good point of sale marketing. This is a conversation. You’re immediately forced to identify or dis-identify with the brand and its subjects.

Milk’s visual language is so specific, that you either get it or you don’t. And when you get it, you fully realize that the 10 girls behind you didn’t. You speak a language that others aren’t privy to.

Another great example that I love is Atlassian’s outdoor billboards:

It’s clear their secret language creates a private moment between the brand and those who “get it.”

10. Make your future bet.

Have a hypothesis about where the world will be in 2, 5 or 10 years and place your bets on that vision. Solving a problem that exists today completely ignores the fact that your consumers are dynamic and always changing. Cultures, beliefs and behaviors are evolving faster than ever.

Your brand strategy needs to look into the future, and what you see there should be informing your approach today.

11. Take bold risks.

If you’re placing your bet on a specific future vision, then you’re taking a risk. Placing bets on the future should feel risky.

But risk cuts another way, too. Old brands demand authority among consumers… and they’re quickly losing marketshare because that’s an old model that simply doesn’t work today. Most founders already realize that.

What they don’t always get is that new and emerging brands must earnauthority by taking bold risks. This is especially evident in luxury (which is basically an exercise in pure brand strategy).

12. Force hard decisions.

A good brand strategy will force you to make difficult decisions. Having a point of view means you won’t please everyone. It also means you’ll be pushing your core consumers to continuously walk into the future before they’re 100% ready.

Snap’s Spectacles, Tesla’s pre-orders, 23andMe’s story of human connection — all of these brands had heavy narratives that pushed consumers to take a leap forward. They were hard decisions for both the company and the customer.

13. Create tension.

Tension earns attention. Being specific, taking bold risks, speaking your secret language… all of these things create tension. They captivate your core audience and keep secondary audiences on the sidelines.

No one explains this better than Seth Godin. Different brand narratives create different levels of tension and engagement:
The tension of how it might turn out.
The tension of possibility.
The tension of change.
Stories work because we’re not sure. We’re half there, half not.
This might work.
This might not work.
The tension of maybe.

Tension comes from juxtaposing what is, with what could be.

14. Empathize with your customer.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Everyone is a hero in their own story.” Your customer is trying to be the best version of themselves that they can. You must empathize with them if you expect to uncover the triggers, behaviors and beliefs that will underlie your brand strategy.
Sound obvious? Yeah, I think so too, but plenty of founders fail to do this.

15. Relief beats guilt. Reward beats fear.

You will always have the choice to go positive or negative in your strategy. Tell the scary, shame-based story or the positive, goal-oriented story. Neither is inherently wrong, but some do work better than others.

Charity, global warming, war — why do none of these narratives work to permanently move people? Because they’re shame based. They inspire guilt. They create a feeling that may motivate in the short term, but most people want to avoid and escape in the long term.

Brands like Do Something, Teach for America, and Habitat for Humanityreverse the negative story and move in a positive direction.

16. The opposite must also be a strategy.

Roger L. Martin’s simple strategy test asks, “Is the opposite of our strategy also a strategy?”
The point is this: If the opposite of your core strategy choices looks stupid, then every competitor is going to have more or less the exact same strategy as you.

If you’re a wealth management company looking to “target wealthy individuals who want and are willing to pay for comprehensive wealth management services […by] providing great customer service across the breadth of wealth management needs”, you’re not really saying anything.

The opposite would be to target poor individuals who don’t want to pay for your services, with crappy customer service across a narrow set of tools. No one would go for this opposite strategy… so it’s safe to say you’re basically going after the same thing everyone else is.
That means that you are likely to be indistinguishable from your competitors and the only way you will make a decent return is if the industry currently happens to be highly attractive structurally.

Don’t fall into the trap of being indistinguishable.

I often tell people brand strategy feels like an excavation. You dig and dig and dig until you arrive at what the core of the company is about, and then suddenly, a market path is revealed.

Challenge yourself to dig deeper. Go past the obvious and discover an approach that excites you just as much as it scares you.

That’s the feeling of good brand strategy.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Emotive Branding... A Branding Strategy That Challenges Convention by the Bard of Bat Yam (#BardOfBatYam) , Poet Laureate Of Zion (#PoetLaureateOfZion) and Stephen Darori:

Image result for emotive branding

The idea of emotive branding — and the creation of our agency, Emotive Brand — flowed from our desire to make a positive difference in the way people and brands interacted with each other. These were our goals
  • Bridge the gap between commerce and civility.
  • Create brands that people appreciate, respect, and actively seek out.
  • Help employees of brands feel better about their jobs.
  • Make partners and suppliers vie for the opportunity to work with our clients.
  • See communities welcome our clients’ brands with open arms.

As a result of all of this goodwill, our clients’ brands would thrive and prosper.
Realizing the Value of Meaning Something More

We came to those goals through two major realizations:

First, as consumers ourselves, we noticed that only a handful of brands really went out of their way to mean anything to us. When they did make a connection — wow, it was love. We’d go out of our way to interact and engage these brands. We even felt disappointed when we had to settle for something less. We’d get excited when other people started talking about these brands and chime in with our most recent, “I can top that!” story. These brands had come to mean something to us because they had a clear reason for being and made us feel something good, time and time again.

On the other hand, zillions of brands never really hit our emotional radar. These brands meant almost nothing to us — even though we’d heard about them, or even bought and used dozens of the brands regularly. 

A Problem in the “Brand Decks”

Second, as brand experts, we saw first hand why so many brands fell flat — lackluster and bland — in the minds of customers. As designers, copywriters, and strategists, we work on virtually every aspect of communication from identity to websites to advertising to point-of-sale to employee recruitment and beyond. Behind each piece of work there’s always a brief — and often attached to the brief there’s a two-hundred some page PDF titled “About the Brand.”

Reading through many of these so-called “brand decks,” we quickly recognized a problem. In fact, the “brand decks” were the problem.

Traditional brand thinking results from business people from branding agencies talking to business people within client organizations. The language they use is full of industry jargon, client-speak, and solely rational thinking. Everything is expounded upon, nothing is simplified, and little is made human. And after several rounds of review, the final documents show the scars of compromise.

And what do these documents lack? The brand’s meaning as defined by its reason for being (why it does what it does) and how the brand wants people to feel (how the brand connects emotionally with customers). Brand decks, on the whole, left out what matters most to us as consumers and businesses and what we admire most in the great brands out there.

So we asked the question: What if meaning was the entry point into brand thinking rather than an appendage at the end? And that, folks, is how Emotive Brand was born.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Stephen Darori (#Stephendarori) on Value-Added Marketing)

Image result for Value-Added Marketing
Value-Added Marketing 101: What? How? And Why?

The hyper-saturation of advertising and marketing we see today has many negative consequences. The following two, however, are chief among them.

First, people are becoming increasingly annoyed with brands trying to sell them just about everything — constantly. Overtime, this results in advertising blindness.

Ad blindness — the conscious and subconscious ignoring of advertising messages (Source: ManagementMania).

Second (but closely related to the first), it is becoming increasingly hard for brands to get noticed, heard, and remembered.

Long story short, the current state of marketing leaves much to be desired. I would even go as far as to say that it is going through a stage of severe crisis — “The Great Marketing Depression.”

The darkest hour, however, is just before the dawn. The good news is that we already see a slight yet significant shift toward better marketing.

Call it a customer-first approach, empathetic marketing, or marketing with meaning. The idea behind it remains the same: to delight customers by delivering more than they expect and pay for.

This is value-added marketing.

Value-added marketing brings marketing to an entirely new level by turning marketing content into a product of its own. As more and more brands adopt this attitude, we’re stepping into the next stage of marketing evolution — one that puts customers first, understands the importance of “going the extra mile,” and emphasizes perceived value to the customer over pure revenue.

Value-Added Marketing: From Theory to Practice

Although the term “value-added marketing” is rather self-explanatory, it still makes sense to quickly run through the concept.

Added value in marketing can be either financial or not. This could be anything from free shipping to referral rewards, even discounts on related materials. It doesn’t matter what exactly a company is offering as an added value as longs as it exceeds the expectation of customers and is considered valuable by them.

To master the art of value-added marketing, a company needs to understand its buyer persona (most typical customer) and what might be important to that persona. This step is crucial for deciding what of value a brand can give customers.

Once a potential value-add is defined, it should be well-integrated into the heart of a business concept. “Well-integrated” here means that the added value is perfectly aligned with the company’s mission, positioning, and long-term goals. What is offered as a value-add should never contradict with the major product or service a business provides.

For instance, a dental health center should not give its returning customers a free family package of chocolate candies, assuming the role of dental healthcare practitioners is to help people take care of their teeth. Neither would it be smart for a gym to sell cinnamon rolls and double-chocolate, king-size donuts in their cafeteria. Most of us go to the gym to lose weight and get in shape, not to fall for another portion of sugary, fast carbs!

Contradictions are confusing, confusion is not what drives sales. Consistency should be the foundation for any value-added marketing initiative.

The Best Value-Added Marketing Cases (So Far)

The world-renowned toy manufacturer LEGO does value-added marketing exceptionally well. LEGO created an online community for its customers where they can submit their ideas for new LEGO sets and vote for the ideas of others. Each submission that gets at least 10,000 votes is reviewed by the brand’s officials and could be turned into a real LEGO set, sold worldwide. Such interaction and gamification is an value-add in its own right, but LEGO has taken it one step further. The brand decided to grant idea-contributors a percentage of sale revenue as well as recognition on the packaging.

One more telling example of a company that knows how to leverage value-adds is Nike. Apart from being one of the top sportswear manufacturers on the market, the company has grown into an ambassador of active lifestyle. The Nike+ Training Club offers people a chance to attend group workouts (running sessions, yoga classes, and functional trainings) free of charge. They also have a free app with guided workouts, so customers can stay active and fit regardless of their schedule and ability to attend a gym. Nike’s approach is good, customer-centric marketing.

Virgin is yet another good example. The company has gone so far in terms of value-added marketing it can no longer be considered just a product or service. Today’s Virgin is not only a travel and media brand, but also a company promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship and helping to nurture talents (and small business). What an interesting way to create a positive brand image!

Reasons Why Value-Added Marketing is Gaining Momentum

Value-added marketing:
  • ensures brand loyalty.
  • turns customers into brand ambassadors.
  • helps retain existing customers and saves money. New User Acquisition is believed to be 7 times more expensive than retention.
  • results in a flow of positive reviews and mentions in social media, which helps with brand awareness.
  • makes customers more likely to take upsell offers.
  • is a foundation for long-term trusting relationships.

Value-Added Marketing Tips (For Any Business)

One of the best things about value-added marketing is its simplicity. In nearly all cases, a brand won’t need a huge budget or a genius marketing team to start taking advantage of value-adds.

Here are some ideas most marketing teams can consider implementing.
  • Provide expert advice; being an authoritative information source within the industry your operating in.
  • Prioritize high-speed and quality service, including — if applicable — delivery.
  • Reward loyalty with return customer discounts and special offers.
  • Teach workshops or other forms of educational events to build community around a brand.
  • Customize products or services on request.
  • Give free, supplemental hardware or software related to the main purchase.

The Wrap-Up

As numerous new brands emerge on the global market daily, the fight for customers’ attention becomes harder than ever.

Meanwhile, the cost (and quality) of advertising is going down, while the quantity of ads grows. This all results in people getting increasingly annoyed and tired of ads, which eventually forces brands to search for new approaches to marketing.

This is a crisis in traditional marketing, but it is a blessing in disguise. As the old tried-and-true approaches no longer work the way they used to, brands are left with few options but to try something new. Fortunately for everyone involved, it is the customer-first approach that seems to be taking over.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Benefits of Combining SEO & PPC to Beat Your Competition

E-commerce and online businesses have witnessed a phenomenal transformation in the area of online marketing. Every second of the day, all over the Internet, many commercial websites are springing up on the internet. These websites are making their best effort to be visible in the online world as well as in the offline. More importantly these online business owners are focused not only on their internet presence but want to offer consumers a convenient shopping experience in the privacy and comfort of their homes.

Commercials websites compete against each other by using the two most powerful advertising strategies: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay per Click (PPC) in trying to attract more traffic to their websites. When these two strategizes are coupled together ranking of the websites improve drastically and thereby has an opportunity to keep an edge over the competition.
Twin equalizers to outrank the competitors

The importance of combining SEO and PPC in a marketing strategy are formidable tools that act to form twin equalizers in the effort to counter act the strategies of the competition.
Benefits of combining SEO and PPC are:

The combination of both SEO and PPC will improve both organic and paid results. The keywords that are found to be profitable with PPC can then be used for SEO.
  • Enhances the Click Through Rates (CTR). Generating and testing content will be advantageous to both search engine ranking as well as the PPC click through rates.
  • High conversation rates: When using PPC along with the organic results the chances of conversion into paying clients drastically increases.
  • Best keywords identification: PPC is considered to be the best tool for measuring the results by which one can identify the best keyword and ad copy. These results can then be applied to the SEO strategy as well.
  • With the right combination, a company can outrank the competitors from the first page of Google and simultaneously increase the brand identity with overall increased exposure.
  • By dominating results a company can increase branding and protect online reputation as this combination guarantees a very strong online presence.
  • With well-planned integration of SEO and PPC online business owners can maximize the efficiency of their marketing efforts and at the same time optimize the spending for the campaigns that effectively increases the bottom line.

When managed properly and handled by the right experts, online business owners can achieve favourable results by combining these two great tools. This integrated approach will attract potential clients both from organic as well as paid channels. Statistics reveal that this combination increases conversion rates around forty percent. The combination enhances the online marketing strategies which deliver online business websites greater exposure with a much quicker ROI (Return on Investment).

In any business one cannot control the strategies adopted by the competitors. This is true in the online world as well. It is always suggested to follow proven techniques to attract more people to your website in order to retain existing customers and to turn the prospects into new customers. Smart online business owners will enhance their SEO strategies in integrating their organic SEO campaigns with a Pay per Click campaigns in order to outrank their immediate competitors. A combination of SEO and PPC will prove the best results in improving the bottom line. Through utilizing both SEO and PPC a well-planned home based online business can do better than the poorly designed websites of multimillion dollar global companies. The history of ‘Big companies eating the smaller ones’ has been changed to ‘Smart companies eating larger, slow to adapt companies’. When it comes to online businesses this is the new reality.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Essential Social Ads Tools to Help You Run Successful Campaigns

AdEspresso by Hootsuite allows us to do a number of important things with our ads. First off, we can run split test ad sets, which is key to running the most cost-effective campaign. Within a few days of the start of a campaign we know what ad copy and creative is performing best and why—allowing us to optimize the campaign.

In our ad dashboard, we get an overview of performance over time, top tracking metrics, total amount spent, conversions, and the best and worst performing ads. We can easily pinpoint ads that are not working for us.

AdEspresso also allows us to boost posts directly from the Hootsuite dashboard. This makes it easy to put money behind our best performing organic posts. Then we set up our ad campaign, select the ad account, run split tests, and manage the ad from Hootsuite.

We use Evernote to share notes about ads among our team. Whenever we make a change to an ad or refresh our plan, we add notes so that we can time stamp our decisions and the reasons we made them.

Evernote is also great during the planning stage of an ad campaign because we can set out a timeline, roles and responsibilities, and outline a draft workback schedule. It’s also easy for us to link to other docs like strategy decks or calendars.

Hootsuite Enhance

When we’re creating ads, we often need access to images that we can we can quickly customize and resize for social. Using Hootsuite Enhance, we can use effects, filters, and fonts to create images for social.

All images for ads on social need to have less than 20 percent of the image covered by text, so we test our ad images using Facebook’s Image Text Check toolbeforehand to make sure they’re going to work.

UTM codes

Every ad campaign we run includes UTM parameters. That way we know exactly how much traffic and how many conversions are coming from specific ads. It also helps us identify the source of social traffic, i.e. which social network the ads sent traffic from.

UTM codes also help us group ads by type. We set up different tags by broad themes like brand awareness or campaign type like social ROI. This allows us to group ad performance and make observations. If we see that a certain ad group is performing best on a certain channel, we’ll shift our budget accordingly.

Messaging software Slack is awesome for cross-team collaboration. When we’re working on a big campaign, we can create a group, upload documents and resources, and get instant feedback. It’s an easy way for us to keep in touch with everyone who needs to know about our ad efforts.

We like the search box because we can go through our archives if we need to retrieve anything for reference, such as plans and notes from past campaign.

Facebook Blueprint

We run a lot of ads on Facebook, so having a learning resource like Facebook Blueprint is essential. It offers courses, guides, and training modules on the latest in social advertising.

It’s a one-stop-shop for all things Facebook advertising—whether you’re looking to try new ad formats, better optimize your ads, or refine your KPIs.


Searching for social media images can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why having a handy list of free stock photo image sites can help speed up the process.

Our favorites are Unsplash and Kaboompics, because we can search by keyword for thousands of images in their database. This helps us narrow down our selection a lot faster.

Hootsuite Impact

Hootsuite Impact is a powerful measurement tool that allows us to report on all of our paid and organic performance. It helps us see the overall health of our channels and our return on investment (ROI).

It also offers recommendations on things like daily ad spend, geographic targeting, and approximate cost per action. This is especially useful when we’re running multiple campaigns and need to make sure that we’re consistent across all channels when looking at results.

When you’re running next ad campaign, get your toolkit in order before building out your plan. It will help you stay organized and properly track all of your campaigns.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Productivity Apps for Social Media Marketers

Imagine your life without coffee. Even if you aren’t a caffeine enthusiast, imagine never smelling that stimulating aroma, or seeing the words “coffee lover” in every social media manager’s Twitter bio. This delicious elixir was discovered in the 10th century, when beans that had fallen into a fire and roasted were dissolved in water.

We then saw the birth of percolators (1818), the espresso machine (1822), and what became the household standard—the electrical drip coffee brewer (1954). However, the coffee world was turned upside down when the first single-serve coffee pod system was introduced by Nestle in 1976. Efficiency became the name of the game.

There may already be acceptable systems in place, but sometimes you just need to get things done faster. When it comes to social media, the introduction of new tools and apps mean that you can take your productivity levels up a notch. Continue reading for a guide to some of our favorites.
8 productivity apps for social media marketers
1. Evernote

Evernote is the classic note-taking tool. It lets you create project to-do lists, save image notes, set reminders for yourself, and much more. Evernote’s cross-platform capabilities add another level of efficiency to your note-taking, allowing you to take your ideas wherever you go. Take notes from a content brainstorm and easily share them with your social media team, or save images that you want to incorporate into future social posts.

For Android

For iOS
2. Todoist

If you’re a social media manager who lives by your to-do lists, Todoist is an app you’ll want to add to your phone ASAP. One Hootsuite team member swears by Todoist thanks to the gamification aspect it includes when you finish a task (or not). You can also assign tasks to other individuals and group them by project, as well as add notes, files, and track tasks over time. Get ready to start crossing tasks off of some lists.

For Android

For iOS
3. Pomodoro Time

As a social media marketer, you know that every second of your workday counts. Enter: the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a time-management system that involves working in 25-minute intervals divided by short breaks. The idea is these small breaks can improve productivity. To work according to the Pomodoro Technique, use an app such as Pomodoro Time, which lets you manage your time, set goals, and maximize productivity.

For iOS

For Android (Comparable)
4. Canva

Visuals are a huge part of any social media marketer’s strategy, and anything that can make the image creation process more productive should be added to your mobile toolbox. Canva is used by over 10 million people around the world, and for good reason. Use the app to create social media images on the go with Canva’s countless templates and designs. You can add text, graphics, effects, and other engaging additions to your images (or one of Canva’s own).

For Android

For iOS
5. Dropbox

Once you’ve created or sourced images, you don’t want your productivity to be derailed while you try to find these images to add to your social media posts. Instead, use Dropbox to keep all of your files in one place that you can access from any device. You can also share large files quickly with your teammates so that you can get that video up on your Facebook page without waiting for a huge file transfer.

For Android

For iOS
6. Hootsuite

When it comes to productivity apps for social media marketers, we can’t help but toot our own horn. The Hootsuite dashboard and mobile app allows you to easily view, share, and schedule social media posts with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn so that you dedicate more time to actually creating content that gets you results.

For Android

For iOS
7. Noisli

Noise can have a huge impact on productivity—just ask those trying to meet a deadline in an open office. Noisli provides background noise that will “help you improve focus and boost your productivity” because as The Wall Street Journalexplains: “A moderate level of noise the equivalent of the background buzz of conversation prompts more creative thought.”

For Android

For iOS
8. Hemingway App

Hemingway App is a tool that will help you improve your writing skills so that you can create clear and quality posts for your social media audience. The tool will highlight any unclear or long-winded sentences, grammatical errors, or the use of passive voice in your writing. Simply copy and paste your text into the Hemingway App and find the areas of your writing that need work.

The right tools can make all the difference for a busy social media marketer. Whether you need help creating an image, sharing files, or writing the best Facebook post, the apps above will equip you to craft the most engaging content for your business.