You know we all love goin’ Downey Oshun, Hon!

A. Bright Idea counts itself fortunate to have teams on both coasts, with offices in Sonoma and Burbank, California and Bel Air, Maryland. Why? Well, in part because we get a front-row seat to the special role our oceans play in the environmental health and economic well-being of adjacent communities on land we serve. And so we’re proud to work on projects with several clients that deal directly – and even indirectly – with Earth’s most prominent feature and one of its most vital to us.

Accounting for around three-quarters of Earth’s surface, land’s big brother demands our respect and collected, concerted conservation efforts. To recognize World Ocean Day and buoy work to safeguard this precious resource, we donated to The Ocean Foundation, a non-profit that supports, strengthens and promotes “those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world.”

However you decide to mark and celebrate the day, we encourage you to be part of the change. Here are a few ways you can join us:

  • Host a beach clean-up
  • Talk to friends, family and neighbors about thinking before they throw waste, especially cigarette butts
  • Donate to a local, national or international organization as we did
  • Use less plastic
  • Be more mindful of your carbon footprint

It’s one of the many ways we reflect our dedication to service, one of our core values. We look forward to illuminating more ideas for you and your organization to support communities.

Every social media post develops your voice.

Now more than ever, a brand can directly interact with its target audience. Creating a unique voice for social media helps distinguish your business and puts it in a better position to rise above the noise.

What is a brand voice?

Even if you are not familiar with the topic, you start to notice a different tone from each account by simply scrolling through social media. A youth-focused brand may use more playful language and images, while another business might communicate more directly.

Your voice is part of the brand itself in the eyes and ears of intended audiences. It interacts with the public across the digital landscape, beyond design and other types of messaging.

A voice can build connections with your audience, encouraging engagement and interaction. A study by Customer Thermometer found that 65% of customers emotionally connect with a business when engaging with their brand. You can tap into that connection to increase trust and awareness of your brand. When on social media, people want an authentic approach – after all, your content is on the same news feed as their friends. The goal of developing a unique voice is to develop a memorable brand and establish lasting connections.

Take time to brainstorm

Sit down and develop a strategy. Write down what makes your company unique and identify audiences to target.

Who are you trying to reach? That is one of the most critical questions when determining your voice. Leverage a social media management tool or use native analytics on each platform to measure demographics for every page. Facebook, in general, may skew older than other platforms such as Instagram.

From this data, you can see your current audience and compare that to your target demographics. Adjust your tone on social media to engage a different audience, if needed.

Use language audiences can understand

When creating content for a business, it is easy to fall into the trap of using language specific to your industry. To expand your audience, avoid jargon and write from the reader’s perspective.

People are less likely to interact with a brand if they feel like they are being sold something. Create content that adds to the existing conversation online. Social listening tools are a great way to measure what people are saying about a brand.

Social listening allows businesses to track, analyze and respond to conversations about their brand and the entire industry on social media.

Consistency matters

The voice is your brand’s persona, and it should stay consistent. Tone, however, can change from platform to platform.

Social-Media_Voices_SupportGraphic2

Just think of it as how you act in different settings. With friends, you might be a little more casual. That is your voice for Instagram. In a business setting, you are more professional, use that language for LinkedIn. Even with these tweaks, the messaging should still sound like it is coming from one “person.”

Be careful not to make your social media only about the brand – engage with the community.

Check the data

Developing your voice should not just be a one-off venture. It should be reviewed and analyzed on a regular basis.

Analytics is everything when it comes to social media. Measure your outcomes, including engagement and impressions, on a weekly and monthly basis. Make slight adjustments to your voice and tone based on these metrics.

It may take some time but developing a voice for social media will elevate your brand above the rest.

A blank canvas, a blank screen, a blank page. Every creative pursuit starts essentially with nothing and requires the creative genius of the person to paint a picture, design a graphic or tell a story. For a business, your origin story, your endeavors, your challenges and solutions, all mean something to everyone involved.

But how do you share all of this with people who don’t know you or haven’t worked with you? How do you evoke emotion and get them to care? That is what branding does. What’s more, the large blank canvases all around you at your office or place of business, are often the underutilized mediums that can help you tell your story.

“Wall projects are a cross between interior design and graphic design,” Lisa Condon, Senior Director of Graphic Services says. “Wall graphics help grab attention, add elements of color and beauty to offices and most importantly of all, tell a brand’s stories.”

Stories are meant to be shared, and what better way to share your story than through big, bold, beautiful images, artifacts and text.

Wall projects come in many shapes and sizes – as you’ll see in the examples below – and with options galore, it can be overwhelming to visualize how to best use space for physical branding.

When considering if a wall project is the right way to tell your story, think about the following:

  • Wall space – Do you have space that is either blank, not used effectively or could be updated? Are there areas where people gather, where you hold meetings or events, or where people are waiting?
  • Longevity – Do you want something with permanence or something that can be flexible and needs to be updated or mobile?
  • Budget – Are you looking for something full or small-scale? (This helps determine materials, fixtures and fabrication plans.)
  • Availability of assets – Do you have high-resolution photos and videos that you’d like to share in new ways?
  • Permission – Can you modify the space? Do you have or can you get the permission to embark on a project of this scale?

Fortunately, we don’t expect you to have the answers. These types of considerations help frame the ideas – showing you all that can be done and in keeping within parameters.

We’re fortunate to have worked on a variety of environmental design and wall graphic projects, including large scale printing, fabrication and installation. Take a peek at some of the projects we’ve developed. Maybe they’ll inspire you to consider telling your story in a unique and immersive way.

Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center Visitors Center

Imaginative design transformed this visitors center into a dual-use space for VIP tours, meetings and events showcasing the organizations mission, presence, culture, research and products. Understanding the need for flexibility, we designed 16 inner building walls, 14 banner displays, 10 portable walls and two double-sided outdoor displays.

Defense Logistics Agency

This auditorium oasis consisted of 40,000 feet of wall and floor space telling the stories of the agency’s role in supporting the Warfighter. It created an immersive brand experience for visitors and reached hundreds of personnel daily with important messaging and visual reminders of the mission of the agency. A wall of fame, massive hand painted mural and glass-encased artifacts helped take this project to the next level.

http://abrightideaonline.com/work/defense-logistics-agency

U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity

This project consisted of a 10-foot nomadic exhibit, a touch-screen kiosk and retractable banners for use at future environmental and technical conferences. To ensure our client was able to fully grasp the scale, feel and placement of assets within the spaces, we created virtual spaces and elevations. This ensured when the final space was complete, there were no surprises. For the touchscreen and video kiosks, we produced interactive presentations using Adobe Flash and Microsoft PowerPoint, integrating animated, video and audio content.

We also converted a 35-foot-long Airstream trailer into a Mobile Information Center (MIC) to engage students in future recruitment efforts and inform the community of the site’s mission. We developed museum quality display panels, models and hands-on products for an enriched engagement experience. Specific graphics produced and fabricated include munition models in wood frames in a mock igloo as well as a representation of an emergency alert siren. When a button is pressed the actual warning tones and messages play, which audibly stresses the importance of the work being safely performed at the site.

Your story matters so why not tell it and display it in a big way. Ready to talk more about how to brand your space? Do you have questions about wall projects? Email us at info@abrightideaonline.com, message us on social media and look out for our Wall Project Q&A with Lisa Condon, Senior Director of Graphic Services.

Many households across the U.S. tune into the Big Game every year. This year’s game truly felt historic for many reasons.

First, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the Kansas City Chiefs at their own home stadium in Florida making them the first team to play a Super Bowl on home turf.

Second, Tom Brady adds yet another win to his record-making this number seven.

Third, you may have noticed the absence of Budweiser’s Clydesdales and the somewhat comical battle for soft drink superiority between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. They, among many other advertisers, opted to take a time-out on advertising during the Big Game this year due to the impact and uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has placed on this game and life across the nation.

The brands that did have ads air during the Big Game took the opportunity to reach audiences with a variety of creative, some funny, some heartfelt, some serious and everything in between.

I teamed up with our Director of Video Creative, Eric Bach to dissect a few of the ads that really caught our attention.

Our Favorite Spot:

“Last Year’s Lemons” Bud Light commercial secured the winning spot for us. Bud Light took an old saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and squeezed it (pun intended) to showcase their new product while highlighting the many sour situations that took place over the course of 2020. Beyond the clever concept and on-point execution of the ad, we noticed additional creative tactics with this campaign. Not only did they reinforce branding with an in-game ad, known as a drop-in, directly following the commercial, but utilized what appeared as guerrilla marketing in the stands, with the cameramen pointing at a “fan” covered in Bud Light body paint, holding a cardboard sign reading “When Life Gives You Lemons.” Overall, Bud Light executed a well-rounded and strategic campaign this year, relating to just about everyone on earth and making us laugh along the way.

*Also, side note, did anyone else catch Budweiser on screen? Weeks before the big game they announced they would not partake in advertising this year which remained true, not directly spending Budweiser ad dollars as they traditionally would. However, Anheuser-Busch ran advertising on its own and separate lower-third unit advertising their zero-alcohol beer

90s Nostalgia:

A reoccurring theme we noticed throughout the night was 90s nostalgia! This was kicked-off with Pizza Hut featuring Craig Robinson decked out in retro Pizza Hut gear playing Pacman in a room filled with iconic Pizza Hut memorabilia, eliciting fond childhood memories…the only thing missing was a BookIt pin!

The nostalgia kept coming with a reference to one of the decade’s most popular sitcoms, with Tide’s “Jason Alexander Sweatshirt.” The ad not only had us reminiscing about our favorite George Constanza moments, but Tide topped it off with a music bed referencing George’s famous answering machine message. The addition of the audio tied the whole spot together to make it even more memorable for audience.

One last nod to the 90s, Uber teamed up with Wayne’s World’s Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to promote the Uber Eats service. They preface this commercial by stating this is NOT an ad they’re using to manipulate the audience to eat local, while using some not-so-subtle tactics, like the babies wearing “eat local” shirts and a shameless celebrity plug from Cardi B to do just that. Uber took the obvious and over-used promotion tactics advertisers often lean on and made fun of them in their own way to shape this ad.

Honorable Mention:

An all-out sandwich war featuring Brad Garrett playing the part of a mob member in the latest Jimmy John’s commercial had us giggling the whole time. Jimmy John’s typically incorporates humor into their ads and this time did not disappoint. This commercial took a jab at their competitors by stating they are the “King of Cold Cuts” and took time to throw in reasons why, such as their superior ingredients, freshly baked bread, customizable menu and more. Humor remains a strong tactic for advertising because consumers like being entertained instead of pitched, so appealing to them emotionally through humor can lead to further engagement with a product in the future.

When it comes to advertising, for the big game or otherwise, creative direction remains the deciding factor if a brand reaches their target audience or not. Advertising is simply the vehicle to deliver the creative to the audience. That said, an integrated approach to advertising is always recommended. If you’re interested in determining the creative direction for your next campaign, send us an email or connect with us on Twitter! We’d be happy to discuss your next campaign and creative!

2021 marks A. Bright Idea’s silver anniversary. From this 25-year milestone, we look back on one incredible journey and toward blazing more trails and pushing ourselves and the creative communications industry to reach new heights.

So, we acknowledge this accomplishment, not to assign importance to an arbitrary number of years but instead reflect on what it took to reach this coming of age and our trajectory from here.

Like many small businesses across the country, the beginning of A. Bright Idea started with a simple vision — a person wanting to pioneer her own way. Anita A. Brightman found inspiration from within and with the support of her family, friends and mentors, to create her own agency in 1996 after feeling lost in the large corporate setting, yearning to not only write but create and ultimately lead. At the start of her journey, a former colleague doubted the 26-year-old’s choice but Anita used his lack of faith to fuel a path to success.

From our agency’s foundations, we grew methodically and expanded from a home-based business to a full-service agency with offices from coast to coast. Our process-oriented culture has in turn become the hallmark of our brand, a culture that’s methodical, imaginative and collaborative.

We’re excited to celebrate! Through 2021, we will mark this special year with Silver & Shine moments. Look for our new webinar series and participate in two trivia contests on Facebook and Instagram where we’re giving away some great ABI swag and other fun goodies while also sharing tons of great anecdotes from Anita and other employees. You’ll see photos and videos to inspire or make you laugh, and of course, help you get to know us a bit better!

In many, if not most ways, we owe a toast to you. We have little room in this one blog post to provide a full compilation of client success stories over a quarter-century but suffice it to say that each one helps chronicle our story. Thank you and let the party begin.

Due to the sometimes confusing and complicated nature of your work, the general public doesn’t always understand the message you want to get across. Fixing this problem requires creative thinking to develop unique ways to transform technical terminology into easily digestible, engaging content everyone can understand and want to read. See, when your audience goes from ‘huh?’ to ‘oh, I get it!’, they’re more likely to engage and that’s a huge win for you!

Tech-y subjects like number analyses, system functions and legislative action don’t always draw attention from audiences more interested in current events, such as the next big sale or what streaming show to watch. You need to make important messages stand out in a sea of cute puppy and baby videos. The content needs to drive a serial Instagram scroller to pause the way they did when a gossip magazine announced Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan broke up. It must gain engagement and reach the way the blue or gold dress took over the internet in 2015. So, that begs the question, how do you turn technical and complex topics into compelling material to capture eyeballs and encourage clicks?

First, you have to take it back to basics – do the research! You need to understand your target audience and what motivates them. Audiences, of course, can range from teenage TikTokers to parents to high-powered CEOs and any other population in between. Each one of these groups find different things that appeal to them. Find those things, note them and use them!

With this new knowledge on your audience, you should begin translating the technical language into content they will understand and actually care about. To do so, look through the text and data to find the ‘pearls’ – those key points and messages you need to tell the story and appeal to the audience. Use the story to connect the data and technical terms to them personally to tell them why they should care. Use your team to talk through the subjects because, more often than not, speaking through a complicated matter simplifies it for you and generates more ideas on how to communicate it.

As you ponder the story with your team, ask yourself two questions: what do I want the audience to know about this topic? And, what do they need to know? Ah yes, the age-old debate – wants vs. needs. Once you understand that the audience does not NEED to know everything you WANT them to know to drive them to act, you can quickly transform your jargon-riddled content into a piece that’s easier to read and understand for the layman.

With the work, research and debate complete, you need to take a trip to math class. Communicating technical subjects relies on a simple equation:

Important, Simplified Content + X = An engaged audience who gets it!

X is the makeover you give your drab technical language to make it the coolest, most popular kid at the party. Now, this elusive X can be many, MANY things. For example, X can include the use of colorful graphs to communicate technical data or illustrations and motion graphics to break up long blocks of text to create visual interest. X could also include condensing information into a cohesive series of materials or relaying information through videos or social media. Once you determine the X in the equation, your method then needs to be two-fold: grab attention and then capitalize on that moment the user has given you.

While we know it can be daunting to transform massive datasets, 13-letter words and long, descriptive paragraphs that would make a rocket scientist’s head spin into something compelling and engaging, it really is as easy as solving for X. Finding the perfect X is a team effort. It includes trial, error and collaboration – a true experiment.

Translating technical content into a story the general public can read, understand and relate to is challenging. As a writer, making personal connections and analogies to the subject matter allows for further understanding of the technical topics. If you relate to the content, you can help your readers understand it too.

Learn more about our X by checking out some of our work!

When you hear the word Amazon, you may think of the ecommerce platform. However, Amazon’s properties extend beyond online shopping. Amazon Prime 2019 Membership data shows 82 percent of U.S. households have a Prime membership1, totaling 105 million households.

While memberships continue to increase, so do the number of Amazon properties, giving advertisers multiple opportunities to reach Amazon customers. These include Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Fire TV and the voice assistant product, Alexa. Amazon’s growth fuels the development of powerful mediums that allow advertisers to follow consumers, understand their habits and in turn, provide them with relevant content and advertisements.

Amazon continues to invest in the digital advertising space, which is projected to grow by about 50 percent throughout 20202.  Amazon advertising opportunities include search, digital display, video and over-the-top television (OTT) tactics, which all utilize Amazon’s proprietary first-party data to accurately target key consumer groups. Below is a list of expanded advertising tactics currently offered through Amazon and how each benefits advertisers:

Placement
Description
Benefit to Advertisers
Display Ads
Display advertising on Amazon websites, apps and devices, as well as sites not owned by Amazon.
Cost-effective display advertising across Amazon and non-Amazon sites.
Amazon DSP (demand-side-platform) Display Ads
Display advertising through Amazon DSP (demand-side-platform) to reach users via Amazon-owned inventory as well as sites not owned by Amazon. Includes custom segmentation and modeling with placement on websites, apps and devices.
Cost-effective display advertising tactic using Amazon’s first-party data to effectively reach target audiences.
Amazon Video Ads
15- or 30-second streaming over-the-top video ads served through Amazon demand-side-platform (DSP) across Prime Video, Fire TV and IMDb TV.
Engages users with video assets across a variety of platforms and devices.
Amazon DSP Video/Over-the-Top Television (OTT) Ads
15- or 30-second streaming over-the-top video ads served through Amazon demand-side-platform (DSP) across Prime Video, Fire TV and IMDb TV.
Engages users with video assets across streaming video platforms to reach non-traditional TV/video viewers.

As you consider tactics for your next campaign, evaluate all of the advertising options across the media landscape, including Amazon. However, while Amazon can provide your campaign with a variety of placements and depth, it should not stand alone. Every campaign should include more than one media tactic that can reach the target audience effectively, convey important messaging and essentially achieve the overall campaign goals.

Let us know how we can help integrate Amazon into your next media buy!

Sources:
[1] Digital Commerce 360, 82% of US households have an Amazon Prime membership, July 2019, available at: https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2019/07/11/82-of-us-households-have-a-amazon-prime-membership/

2 eMarketer, U.S. Digital Ad Spending Will Surpass Traditional in 2019, February 2019, available at: https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-digital-ad-spending-will-surpass-traditional-in-2019

Technology continues to play a large role in our lives, from serving as a resource for information to providing a quick and easy way to order groceries online.

To serve the increasing number of digital-savvy consumers in the current on-demand retail environment, companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon continue to develop technology to keep up with the wants and needs of the consumer, specifically through voice-assisted devices.

The origins of the voice assistant started with Apple when they introduced Siri on October 4, 2011. Several years later, Google unveiled Google Home, Microsoft rolled out Cortana and Amazon developed Alexa, flooding the market with new devices. By 2019, there were an estimated 3.25 billion voice assistants used across the world.1  The projected increase in digital voice assistants use is expected to increase from 2.5 billion in 2018 to over 88 billion by 2023.2

Advertisers can now reach the average consumer while they’re in-home or simply completing a voice search on their mobile devices. With expanding technology from top tech companies comes expanded opportunities for buyers to purchase goods or services and for advertisers to reach consumers through these devices.

A. Bright Idea recommends the following strategies for integrating voice assistants into your advertising strategies in 2020:

1. Follow the users

The top contenders, Amazon and Google reach most voice assistant users and capture the in-home audience.3 By purchasing advertising units through top companies as listed previously and various applications, such as Pandora, you are able to target specific consumers in real-time. Ads placed within relevant content resonates best with the target audience and ensures the call-to-action is heard.

2. Integrate into the overall plan

The voice assistant tactic should integrate seamlessly into the current audio or digital portion of the full advertising strategy. It is important from a creative standpoint to allow assets used to span across multiple tactics and mediums. Incorporating this tactic can also help reach a new audience not previously reached.

3. Tailor creative

A. Bright Idea recommends tailoring the creative not only to the audience but keeping the placement in mind as well. A. Bright Idea customized creative messaging for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day campaign using Pandora’s connected home placements. Using language specifically for the in-home listener, DEA’s messaging focused on taking an immediate action within the home to connect with audiences in the moment.

Moving forward and throughout 2020, advertisers can take full advantage of not only the voice assistants, but also other digital tech in development with top companies. The trend of voice assistants will increase while consumers will become less reliant on digital screens.2 While the ways to reach target audiences become more diverse, remember that the way advertisers utilize specific creative and placements help drive the success of the specific advertisement within the campaign.

Looking for more advertising expertise? Try this – Advertising in 2020 – The Digital Media Solution

Sources:
1 Statista, Number of digital voice assistants in use worldwide from 2019 to 2023 (in billions)*, November 2019, available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/973815/worldwide-digital-voice-assistant-in-use/

2 Centro Institute, 20/20 on 2020 Trends and predictions for the future of marketing, September 2019

3 Voicebot.ai, Google Home Added 600,000 More U.S. Users in 2018 Than Amazon Echo, But Amazon Echo Dot is Still the Most Owned Smart Speaker, March 2019, available at: https://voicebot.ai/2019/03/07/google-home-added-600000-more-u-s-users-in-2018-than-amazon-echo-but-amazon-echo-dot-is-still-the-most-owned-smart-speaker/

As advertisers look ahead to 2020, many feel they must choose between an advertising path focused on mass reach brand awareness or an alternative path to direct sales through targeted digital media advertising.

Many recognize the power of promoting a brand through a strategic mass media approach but cannot deny the benefits and return on investment offered by a targeted digital plan. 2019 marked the first time digital ad spending surpassed traditional media spending, signaling a shift in strategy, budget and execution by many U.S. brands. At A. Bright Idea, we believe a strategic digital media plan can increase brand awareness and drive leads, using a combination of cost-effective advertising tactics.

In the past decade, digital advertising capabilities improved significantly, giving advertisers the opportunity to target niche audiences, see results in real-time and make adjustments mid-campaign to impact sales and maximize budget. Audience targeting capabilities also improved with audience segmentation, enhanced geo-targeting and IP-targeting. The incorporation of first-party, third-party and CRM data gave digital advertising legitimacy in the lead generation space. This data-driven approach allowed advertisers to focus on an audience most likely to interact with their brand and used tangible data to reach the lower end of the purchasing funnel. And, best of all, digital advertising costs a fraction of many broad-reaching mass media buys.

In theory, converting to a pure digital advertising campaign checks all the boxes, but this approach has its drawbacks too. High frequency of exposure to the same audience can cause burn-out and potentially turn consumers away from a brand. Also, limiting reach to those already in the funnel ignores a potentially untapped audience of new customers. Once marketers churn through existing leads, they must find ways to feed the top of the funnel and ultimately cultivate new leads, which cannot be done at the micro-level.

Fortunately, companies do not have to stand on one side of the advertising fence or the other. With more options than ever before, the right formula often includes a combination of digital media that reaches the target audience at multiple points along the consumer journey. As we look to 2020 and consider all of the media options around us and those yet to come, A. Bright Idea considers the following to help build and ultimately execute an effective media campaign:

  • Know your target audience
  • Outline campaign goals and objectives
  • Pinpoint key timing and benchmarks
  • Determine what you want to learn from the campaign
  • Identify key metrics to measure campaign success

Learn more about how A. Bright Idea can build a media plan for you!

Now more than ever, businesses use social media to promote and build trust in their brand, reach new customers, provide customer service and sell products. Individuals use social media to consume and share content, both written form (like this blog…please share it btw) and visual form, interact with friends, family and brands, meet new people and in some cases, build their personal brand.

There are a lot of fish in the social media sea, so it’s important to leverage channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to expand your business’s audience. That starts with having a strategy in place and a path forward. Here are three tips to really harness social media for everything you can:

1. Make the Most of Your Content

2. Engage with Others

3. Be Authentic

In each tip, I’ll also give some actionable takeaways for you to use right away. Let’s get started.

At the basic level, social media is free and even when it’s not free, it’s arguably the most cost-effective way to promote your brand. A consistent presence on social media allows a brand to reach people at all times of day, every day of the week.

Every business and personal brand fights for attention online so if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need effective content with a long shelf life. In other words, take whatever you’re doing and make it go further. Develop a strategy specifically catered to your piece of content that will help leverage its reach on social media.

ACTION ITEM: Think of your brand, your story, your products. Come up with a big story to tell people about your brand. Tell the story of one of your best products. Try developing that story into a written piece of content or a video. From there you can do a lot of things to squeeze as much of that juice as possible out of that big piece of content. Here’s a quick reference list:

  • Break content into smaller pieces to share on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as separate posts.
  • Create graphics for each smaller piece of content using a free software like Canva. Let the images do the talking. Shares are a great metric to measure on social and these are super-shareable on Instagram stories and Twitter.
  • Tell your stories in 15-second clips on Instagram Stories. To up the authenticity factor, use your phone to record and post (more on being authentic later).
  • Break videos into shorter vignettes and post to all channels.
  • Create a list of hashtags to use on Instagram and Twitter to help expand the reach each time you post. However, beware of banned Instagram hashtags that can downgrade your posts.


One of the easiest ways to ensure audiences know you’re legit is to talk to them. Talk to them as if they just walked in to your branch, as if they are next in line at your deli counter or if they just took a seat at your bar.

We all know social media is a communication tool. We communicate everything, the best and worst moments in our lives. But for a lot of businesses, they post content for the day and forget about it, only coming back to post more the following day, never taking the time to take their communication efforts a step further.

That’s the short game, it’s fairly easy and doesn’t take much time. But if you’re trying to build a brand using social media, play the long game. Post your content but also take time to comment, answer questions, pose follow up questions and say thanks. In fact, if you really want to measure how well any one post is doing on Facebook, for instance, see how many comments it received. At this point in the history of social, meaningful engagements are more valuable than the likes anyways.

ACTION ITEM: Talk to people using social media. By either starting conversations around a product or trend or carrying on the conversation based on comments you see from your audience, taking the time to talk to people will pay off in the long run. Here are a few things your business or brand can do to engage more with others.

  • Respond to comments on posts. In a world of people waiting to speak, it’s nice to know some people are taking the time to listen.
  • Search hashtags relevant to your brand and like/comment on posts of others.
  • Use the ‘ask a question’ feature on Instagram stories. Create a story the day after, answering some of the questions.
  • Retweet relevant content your audience might like on Twitter.
  • Share content that is meaningful to your audiences; don’t always be self-serving.


They can smell it, inauthenticity. It stinks and most people using social today recognize it quickly and move on.

Authenticity also falls in line with engaging others and can lead to increased attention for your brand.

Authenticity is #winning in 2019 and will trend that way for the foreseeable future. Why? Because in a world of fake news, fake accounts, fake lives, chatbots, AI and more, people yearn for authenticity. Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock,” wins on Instagram not simply for his rugged good looks but because he talks to his fans and lets them peek behind the curtain, just a bit, which keeps fans super engaged.

ACTION ITEM: “You do you” is a good mantra for this tip. Being authentic means being yourself and making sure your brand is represented well on social, so when a customer walks through the door, they know exactly who they are doing business with and what experience they can expect from you. Here are a few things to try to be more authentic.

  • Share in-the-moment photos of your products, your store, your employees and even your customers using Facebook and Instagram stories. Tell your audience about everything that makes your brand special.
  • Instead of always talking to people through text posts, use video. Don’t be afraid to use video, live or pre-recorded, straight from your phone, to say hi, tell people about a promotion they should check out, explain a product or even tease a new Try video content on LinkedIn. The platform has the capability, but not many people leverage video there yet. You should.
  • Share user-generated content. If someone posts about your product, at your location or mentions you on their feed, tell people about it! Consumers trust other consumers who trust you.

Conclusion

If you’ve made it this far, you must really be serious about making changes to how you’re leveraging social media this year, which is awesome! Each of the tips I covered are important, but they don’t all have to be done at the same time if that’s not possible for your business.

Before you make any moves to implement these strategies, empty the dishwasher, wash the car or do whatever it is that produces your best pondering, wondering, thinking cap. Consider your goals, audience, brand, core values and everything in between to help you decide what you’re going to tackle first and the strategy you’ll employ.

If you still have questions about any of the strategies covered in this article, I encourage you to start practicing good social media by reaching out to us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. We’re here to help!