Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis public relations’
This month, ShareThis released the first quarterly Consumer Sharing Trends Report analyzing consumer sharing behavior across more than 120 social channels and two million websites. Pinterest is now the fastest-growing platform for online content sharing!
This data reminds businesses that Facebook and Twitter, while still dominant players, aren’t the only platforms to use in social media outreach.
See what Pinterest can do
According to Alison Griswold in “Business Insider,” Pinterest gives businesses the chance to grab consumers with compelling images and colorful infographics to promote services and new products.
Now Pinterest has partnered with Getty Images, a stock photo agency with an archive of 80 million still images and illustrations. According to the Getty Images Blog, this is a “groundbreaking collaboration to drive a more visual world.”
Getty provides Pinterest with metadata in exchange for a fee. When a user pins a Getty image from the Web, the metadata for that image — including the description, photographer and date taken — appears next to that photo on the user’s pin board, says Kurt Wagner from Mashable.
More pin information is intended to make the pin more valuable to the user.
A picture is worth … a lot
Pinterest recently closed a $225 million round in funding, valuing Pinterest at slightly less than $4 billion.
Is it really worth that much? Sebastian Thomas of Allianz Global Investors says yes in an article in “The Wall Street Journal” by Spencer E. Ante.
“I think the valuation is reasonable given the commercial intent of the users. For merchants, there is a huge opportunity for brand building.”
Thomas cites Pinterest’s rapid growth, strong user engagement, and its potential to build brands and make money by driving traffic to a company website.
Pinterest has more than 70 million users, and Lauren Orsini cites social login provider Gigya’s numbers that show Pinterest grabbing 41% of e-commerce traffic.
Plus, there’s the value of improved rankings on search engines like Google or Bing.
Take the Pinterest road more traveled
A study by Piquora found a pin on Pinterest can last thousands of times longer than the average tweet or Facebook post.
John Koetsier says “Twitter and Facebook are social networks with a massive emphasis on immediacy. When people visit Pinterest, they browse, they search, they surf, and they uncover more pins.”
“Sure, you get 70 percent of your clicks in the first two days,” Piquora CEO Shara Verma says. “But there’s a huge long tail. Clicks kept coming all the way for 30 days and even beyond.”
Pinterest users are sharing more. So, businesses need to get smarter about what gets shared.
Learn to pin with proficiency
Gabrielle Karol from “Entrepreneur” shares tips to master Pinterest for your business:
- Make your website pin-friendly. To encourage consumers to engage with your brand, have a “Pin It” button on all content on your website.
- Organize your content. Businesses should organize content by theme, making it easier for users to find and browse content.
- Brand your pins. Branding the images uploaded to Pinterest is worth the added effort. Use the company logo and other branding in photos when appropriate.
- Include shopper-friendly information. Pinterest users approach the platform with a shopping mindset. Therefore, include as much detailed product or service information with the images without making it look difficult.
- Engage the community. Company leaders should become active in the online community in a sincere way. This might include repinning content relevant to your boards and answering user questions.
Another fun tip? Predominantly red or orange images get twice the repins of mainly blue images. Pin that!
Like a lot of casual Instagram users, I use it to snap cool square-shaped photos, slap a neat-o filter on it and share it on my Facebook page. Kids doing cute things, pets pouncing playfully and eye-catching scenery make up the bulk of what I and my Instagram buddies share with each other.
So you may have missed the news this summer that Instagram added video capability to its lineup. It works much the same as taking and sharing photos — just look for the movie camera icon when you launch the app on your smartphone or mobile device to switch to video mode.
It’s easy to shoot and share
You press and hold the record button, so you can stop, set up a new scene and keep rolling. That’s editing right in the camera just like good ol’ Sergei Eisenstein did! It even comes with 13 filters specific to video. My personal favorite is Gingham, which gives your mini-movies an old-timey washed-out look. Or select Moon to instantly convert to black-and-white.
Here is a guide from Mashable on how to create an Instagram video in seven simple steps!
Brands get the impact
Even if light users of Instagram didn’t grasp the impact of videos, brands certainly did. Smart companies soon began cranking out their own Instagram videos, whether producing new content, sharing feedback from customers or just repurposing video they already disseminate in other ways.
For instance, the National Basketball Association has used Instagram videos to show the Miami Heat collecting their championship rings, interviews with stars like Derrick Rose or just some dope crossover moves during team practice.
Over the past month, the Top 10 brand videos shared most are:
- Miami Heat
- HBO (Girls)
Number three refers to the comic strip, not the edible nut. Most of the videos from Snoopy & Co. are simply clips of old “Peanuts” television specials — a pretty low-resource method to get a lot of eyeballs!
Vine who? 15 seconds of potential
In fact, according to tracking firm Unruly, 40 percent of the most popular videos shared on Instagram during the last month were created by brands. Seth Fiegerman at Mashable has the rundown for the eye-popping numbers of how many eyeballs have seen these videos.
With more than 150 million users and less stringent rules for business accounts than Facebook or Vine, plus the ability to link directly to Facebook, Instagram video currently has outreach potential for brands as wide as the sky.
Need advice on how to use video in your social media outreach? Contact Coles Marketing for a consultation!
Data-driven ads … it’s the Holy Grail for getting in front of customers with the marketing mantra — right place, right time, right message.
But effective advertising has always needed to anticipate needs and desires, then satisfy those wants with a brand promise made in the places where target audiences are most likely to see it.
Data has a place in the creative process. It’s how we glean insights and find touch points that speak to any given audience. While it’s not the end-all answer, data still has great value in deciding what to say and how to say it.
The new face of marketing data
Of course, today’s data is often a derivative of marketing automation and following our Internet browsing habits through cookies and other means. Then, advertising exchanges serve up those ads most relevant to our searches and browsing habits.
If you’ve been looking at hiking boots online, you might also be interested in wool socks, sleeping bags or tents. Retargeted ads will follow you around according to the item or brand you were looking at or the keyword you were searching.
With the right information pulled from the data, marketing messages can be more personalized, relevant and meaningful to the people who are most likely to be interested.
Driving or just influencing creative?
Even armed with the best data about Web traffic and people’s interests, there’s more to connecting people to your cash register than just number crunching. There’s plenty of art that needs to be blended with that science.
Fortunately, for those who live and breathe in marketing’s creative spaces, the most semantic data-gathering algorithm is unlikely to achieve the essence of humanity and our unpredictable aspects and emotional responses.
If it were true that all the answers to marketing could be found in the data, most online advertising wouldn’t be as poor as it often is. A lot of online ads simply do not live up to their brand promise. So what’s missing?
Good, old-fashioned, solid creative — or, rather, the new paradigm thereof. It’s always what you do with the data that counts.
Creative in content is king
Developing great creative for advertising and marketing is a process. It may include conscious and subconscious analysis, contextualizing, digestion and regurgitation. The end goal is always to connect with people at points that intersect with their personal interests, not just the brand’s interests.
The best ideas rarely come from mere perusal of relevant data or from a “brainstorming” session. Those are more effective to seed, water and fertilize concept development.
All of the data input is absorbed, sometimes stretched beyond recognition, slept on, stomped on, showered with, taken on a drive to and from the grocery store, and in many other ways processed, cooked and jelled.
What comes out of it is the content you need to sell a product. It’s the right message that, when put in the right place at the right time, gives you the right results.
While data may be a key ingredient, it is still the creative that gives it the secret sauce. So basing your creative entirely on data is, by definition, not creative, and likely to fail in its effort to engage and nurture customer relationships.
Need some of that secret sauce cooked up from your data? Give us a call at Coles Marketing.
The time is almost here to rev your engines and get your motors running to the Indianapolis Auto Show. And there’s something extra special about the 2014 show — it’s 100 years old!
The 100th Annual Edition of the Indianapolis Auto Show is hosted by the Greater Metropolitan Indianapolis Automobile Trade Association.
It takes place Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013-Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, at the Indiana Convention Center, located at 100 South Capitol in Indianapolis.
Sponsored by Huntington, the show features more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space for a variety of vehicles and automotive products, including new models of 35 different makes of domestic and import automobiles and trucks.
Don’t miss the State Farm Garage, an interactive experience with two full-body driving pods. Camp Jeep® returns to offer attendees the ultimate indoor off-road driving test. And take a blast into the past when you check out the Indy Auto Show History Photo Gallery.
Tickets are $7 for adults at the door; children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Get a discount on tickets if you purchase them online here. And check out the website for show hours and additional details.
There will also be chances for you to win FREE tickets if you like the Indy Auto Show on Facebook!
Buckle your seatbelts, and mark your calendar for the 2014 Indianapolis Auto Show!
While trying to come up with what I wanted to blog about, I came across … wait for it … a blog post!
Gizmodo is a design and technology blog, and they often have equally informative and fascinating posts about everything from home electronics and the Google Play Music iOS app to the new Pringles dispenser.
Recently, blogger Lily Hay Newman highlighted designer Clif Dickens and his brilliant mockups of well-known advertising campaigns. As Newman says, “Some of the mockups dole out real criticism, and some are just mundane enough to be funny, but they all take the idea of being brand-conscious to the next level.”
I’m pretty sure Mr. Dickens isn’t having any problems getting traffic to his site. But if you are working to build traffic as well as an engaged audience to your blog, here are some tips from Mark Schaefer in his article in PR Daily:
1. Consider the content focus. This sounds like tired advice, but it is absolutely true. Your No. 1 priority must be on creating content that adds value so people want to read what you have to say and come back again.
2. Build a Twitter audience. This is the fastest way to build a relevant tribe. It’s relatively hard to “pull” people to your blog, but it is fairly easy to build a connected Twitter audience. Work in links to posts among your daily tweets.
3. Activate LinkedIn groups. There are more than 1.5 million LinkedIn groups for every region and topic imaginable. Find some that are relevant to you. The best way to promote your blog is to use it to be helpful. When you see an interesting question in a LinkedIn group, answer by creating a blog post. Then paste the link to your post as your helpful answer.
4. Build your own blog network. Find great new blogging friends in the comments section of your favorite blogs, or you might look into a more formal approach through a service like Triberr.
5. Think about your blog like your email address. Promote your blog URL everywhere you have your email address, like business cards, newsletters and email signatures. Many of these sources are going to be high-potential blog readers.
Why are those ads following me? How do they know?
I saw a recent Facebook post by a middle-aged acquaintance’s tongue-in-cheek comment about the ads on the right side of his newsfeed.
“I used to get a daily men’s underwear ad, which was fine,” he stated. “Now I get, ‘Tired of adult diapers?’ What happened … and how did they know?”
One response was, “I find that ads I get are related to searches I’ve done in the last week. Just sayin’.”
Another was, “I was browsing for a new bathtub. Now I get ads from all the vendors I visited!”
And a third responder, who apparently spoke English as a primary language, commented, “I get Walmart ads in Spanish.”
Those ads that follow you as you browse the Web are a media placement technique called retargeting. While it’s nothing new, retargeting is getting more prevalent because the analytics used to follow our Web habits are getting better at identifying our interests, and the Return on Investment (ROI) is greater.
Retargeting garners higher response rates
It will never be a perfect science. For example, location may be the reason an English speaker gets Spanish ads. A search about geriatrics may deliver retargeted ads about adult diapers, whether the viewer is a prospect or not. If you share a computer, someone else’s browsing may drive retargeted ads that don’t relate to you.
Who knows why we might browse certain sites that drop a cookie on our computer and then presume we are still interested in the subject matter after we move on? It’s a numbers game, but retargeted ads do have the numbers — with much higher click-through and engagement and conversion rates than ads simply placed on high-traffic or topic-relevant sites.
When does retargeting work?
Retargeting measures higher ROI than other digital ad placements because it puts your message in front of folks who are already familiar with your brand. After all, they have recently been on a Web page with your information. Impressions are still relevant, however you can achieve them.
Still, retargeting is no silver bullet for marketing success. It’s great for branding and conversion optimization, but it’s best to use a mix of tactics that work together, including inbound and outbound efforts.
Content marketing, Google AdWords and targeted display advertising on sites where your customers are likely to be found will help drive traffic. But retargeting can help improve your conversions. It’s an enhancement to your other digital efforts.
Creative makes your cliques click
The image and the message count in every medium. Since Web ads easily allow you to, it’s best to try out several different creative versions of your ad: altering headlines, images, copy and even the calls to action.
Test your different creative executions, then pick the best performing ad and let it run for a couple months. Then do it all over again with a new message and image. Rotating your retargeting ads is a best practice that calls fresh attention to your brand while your prospects browse different Web pages.
Tips for successful retargeting
For more insight into how retargeting works and how to make it work for you, here are 8 Best Practices for Running A Retargeting Campaign from the ReTargeter Blog. Also, here are four tips about the whys and hows of remarketing from Business News Daily:
- Brand awareness: Stay in front of your audience with more passive messaging to help build credibility in your brand and to keep prospects coming back over time.
- Recapture funnel bounces: Keep track of who has abandoned your online shopping cart in order to bring them back with enticing offers that capitalize on impulse.
- Combine high intent and “whale” hunting: Start with more aggressive promotions and messaging, such as discounts and coupons. Then, over time, push more value-driven messaging, like customer service and differentiators.
- Expand to Facebook: Consider buying ads via Facebook Exchange. This will allow you to retarget a potential or existing base through the news feed and side feed on Facebook.
When you’re ready to explore retargeting in your digital media mix, we’re ready here at Coles Marketing to help you organize and implement the best strategies for your business.
Throughout my years as a journalist, I conducted countless interviews with spokespersons representing their company or governmental institution. Believe it or not, sometimes I actually empathized with them and the difficulties they faced in trying to broadcast the proper message to the right audience.
Recently I had the opportunity to wear the shoe on the other foot, fielding phone calls and emails from reporters seeking answers to questions about a client’s major new development. Most were businesslike, one or two were a little snippy, but in the end I think I communicated what the client wanted.
Getting the message out
Being an effective spokesperson for your organization isn’t just limited to communicating with journalists. Whether you’re reaching out to your audience through social media, speaking to a professional organization or responding to customer complaints, there are steps anyone can take to improve their performance.
Brian Hart of Jennifer Connelly Public Relations has a useful article about the seven habits of good spokespersons. Some of them are self-evident, but others might prove surprising.
- Be Prepared: A good motto in any business situation, it means do your homework beforehand. You should have talking points practiced, plus a hard copy for reference. If you’re doing a scheduled media interview, strive to know the outlet, the reporter and the topic to be discussed.
- Know Your Audience: This doesn’t necessarily mean the reporter you’re talking to, but the people who will watch their broadcast or read their article. Craft a message that will resonate with them, and avoid jargon.
Interacting with reporters
- Build Rapport: This refers to your direct interaction with the journalist or audience member. The idea is to build trust and familiarity in the brief time you’re interacting. Use their name, and refer to their work or situation. Rapport will result in a more comfortable messenger.
- Speak in Sound Bites: This is especially true when dealing with broadcast reporters. I know as a journalist I was always listening for the “money quote” that would really punch up a story. Always have pertinent information organized into short, punchy quotes.
- Be Yourself, Sort Of: I like Hart’s advice to “be your best self” when acting as a spokesperson. “Show humor and personality, but maintain a high level of professionalism,” he writes. There’s a line between being friendly and overly familiar.
- Amplify Your Message: This means selecting the right channels to spread the word. Sometimes news is best shared through a Facebook message or a Twitter post than a press release or an on-the-record interview. Be alert for non-traditional opportunities to reach out.
- Practice, Practice, Practice: Like anything else, the more you do something, the better you’ll be at it. By practicing as a spokesperson in non-media situations, you can hone your skills so you’ll be ready when the cameras are on and the notebooks are out.
Need a spokesperson for your organization, or want media coaching to enhance your skills? The Coles team has the experience to help.
I just got back from vacation. And, unfortunately, I wasn’t surprised by how many emails found their way into my inbox, despite my ever-present away message.
While I made my way through each one, I couldn’t help but remember reading this article by One Thing New. It brought up the idea of a sneaky little trick — email bankruptcy.
Delete everything and start fresh
What is email bankruptcy? Deletion. Of everything. Lauren Young of Reuters says, “There’s something so liberating about going into your inbox and deleting it all.” Young puts it into practice with an autoreply that gives an alternate contact and lets the correspondents know that due to the large volume of emails when she returns, Young may declare email bankruptcy.
Genius. Yes, everyone who sent emails will now have to send them again, so that’s more work for them. But then again, don’t we deserve a little time to actually unplug? After all, according to a study by the University of California, Irvine, “being cut off from work email significantly reduces stress and allows employees to focus far better.”
Email vacations increase concentration
In the study, heart rate monitors were attached to people using computers in an office setting, while software sensors detected how often they switched window screens. People who read email changed screens twice as often and were in a steady “high alert” state, with more constant heart rates.
Those removed from email for five days experienced more natural, variable heart rates. Those with no email felt better able to do their jobs and stay on task, with fewer stressful and time-wasting interruptions.
UCI Informatics Professor Gloria Mark suggested controlling email login times and batching messages might be helpful. Getting up and walking to someone’s desk or office offers physical relief too.
Steps to effective email management
Nervous about quitting email cold turkey? There are some other options to manage your email effectively, courtesy of LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner:
- If you want to receive less email, send less email. As simple as it sounds, this is the golden rule of email management. Don’t write an email unless absolutely necessary. You will likely have fewer responses, and fewer responses to responses.
- Mark as unread. Having the ability to mark an email unread enables you to quickly glance through your inbox, respond to those items that are most pressing, delete what is unimportant, and mark unread those items you want to return to later.
- Establish a routine. Get into a daily routine for when you check your email and how long, and stick to it. Sticking to a schedule keeps your inbox manageable.
- Be precise with your words. Words matter. The more precise you are upfront, the less likely you’ll see subsequent emails generating confusing and asking follow-up questions.
- Give some thought To: the recipients. Use To: and Cc: to draw a clear distinction between who the email is being sent to and from whom you expect a response from (the To: field); and who is being copied so they have the appropriate context (Cc:).
- Acknowledge receipt. If the email sender has taken the time to address you in the To: line, take the time to acknowledge you received it. This lets the sender know you received the message, and they can check it off their list.
- Take the combustible stuff offline. If you find yourself in the throes of what is clearly becoming an antagonistic discussion online: Stop. Either pick up the phone or head over to the person’s office to have the discussion in person.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the biggest change to healthcare in decades. It makes sure more Americans can get health insurance and stay healthy. There are lots of new benefits, but with those come lots of new questions.
Coles client Managed Health Services (MHS) is offering a line of products branded as Ambetter from MHS as part of Indiana’s health insurance marketplace. The marketplace, or health exchange, offers consumers a place to shop, compare and select an affordable health plan.
Ambetter continues the MHS mission of transforming the health of the community. It delivers local, helpful and affordable healthcare with MHS members in mind. Coles is working with MHS to market its Ambetter product through a variety of mediums, including online and traditional advertising, billboards, social media outreach and media relations.
“We have been serving Hoosiers for nearly two decades by offering a large network of skilled healthcare providers who deliver the highest quality and care to our members,” said MHS President and CEO Patrick Rooney. “Our marketplace product Ambetter will be the best choice for affordable healthcare.”
Enrolling in Ambetter is simple. There are four steps to buying a healthcare plan:
- Enter your information online or over the phone. You can also submit your application by mail.
- Compare plans. If you are eligible for an Insurance Marketplace product, you will get a list of options.
- Choose your plan. Choose and buy a healthcare plan that is right for you and your family.
- Start coverage. Your coverage may begin as soon as January 2014.
Enroll in an Ambetter health plan today. Call 1-877-687-1182 to get started. Learn more about Ambetter from MHS here.
MHS is your resource for all questions about the Affordable Care Act. Visit www.mhsindiana.com/ACA for your guide to the new healthcare laws!
Interested in helping others get the tools they need to become financially fit?
Mayor Greg Ballard will join Indianapolis First Lady Winnie Ballard and representatives from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Indy’s Campaign for Financial Fitness (ICFF), United Way of Central Indiana and members of the Indianapolis Asset Building Coalition to issue a call for volunteers for the Indy Free Tax Prep program tomorrow at the City Market.
Indy Free Tax Prep is a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) IRS program. In 2013, more than 6,000 tax returns were prepared for Indianapolis residents at no cost through this effort, resulting in more than $7.2M in tax refunds.
Volunteer tax preparers, greeters, schedulers and screeners are needed. Attendees will learn how to sign up as a volunteer and how to access any necessary training. For more information, visit www.indyfreetaxprep.com.
Since 2009, Coles Marketing has been helping to promote the VITA program in Indianapolis. The VITA program generally offers free tax help to people who make $51,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities.
And now they’re putting out the call for new volunteers! You don’t have to be a tax expert to volunteer — they’ll provide you with the training you need to make a difference in someone’s life.
Want to join the cause? Come to a volunteer drive at the Indianapolis City Market Platform at the corner of Market and Delaware Streets on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. And click here to register as a volunteer!