Category: Additional Markets

A new Facebook layout is in town and this time, photos rule everything. With social media, it seems to be that all we care about is the image rather than what we have to read. Considering Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram, we can’t say we’re shocked about its latest update being very photo-centric either.

Go ahead and Google “first Facebook layout” and enjoy that nostalgia for a minute.

Think back to those tabs at the top, those little info or disclaimer boxes underneath your picture, or how they listed each individual that you became friends with. That’s just far too much text for us now in 2013.

Now, even as a “friend”, you’re going to have to stay on top of your photo game if you don’t want to get lost in the news feeds. But what about as a business owner managing the Facebook page as a component of using social media to build your brand? The “rules” will apply to you too.

Get yourself a camera or smartphone to upload pictures so your business can stay on the radar. And if you follow our advice below, you should be on the right track.

  1. Serve food and/or cocktails? Customers are going to want to see what you can bring to the table—pun intended.
    *Investing time in posting photos or providing your marketing agency with photos is going to pay off. With the new layout, photos that people and businesses post are the central focus.
  2. Connect with your customers by posting to grab emotions rather than money.
    *Just because you have a special going on, doesn’t mean people care or would come in because they saw your status.
  3. It’s important to appeal to your customer’s pleasure factor.
    * Energy and good vibes can be transmitted through social media with the use of photos paired with humor, quotes, or a relatable emotion for that day.
  4. Yes, you absolutely want to post specials. But just posting your specials as a text-based status will get lost.
    *Focus on the most desirable special and pair it with a photo of a group of people who frequent your business, a bartender, or the staff.
  5. Photos on Facebook add to the personality of the business. New and current customers want to be able to know the business and recognize a face or two when they come in.
    *We bet you know that posting pictures of your animals is always great too (check out this great pic of Jayden and Emily on Exakt Marketing’s Facebook page).

Even if you don’t want to welcome this transition, it will move forward with or without you. Trust us when we tell you that pictures will sell. And awesome pictures will sell even more than that. Stay relevant and present with these social media changes so that your business doesn’t suffer.

For more information on leveraging social media for your business, contact Tampa marketing agency Exakt Marketing.

As the popularity of social media continues to skyrocket in 2013, more and more companies are joining in. If you are the owner of a company, a social media presence can be a great opportunity for you to get in touch with customers. Being on social media sites means much more than simply having a page. During my time as a Social Media Marketing Intern at Exakt Marketing, I have learned crucial strategies we use so our clients can harvest the benefits of social media while avoiding social media flops. Here are three strategies that Exakt uses to make our clients’ social media presence blossom:

1.      Stay True to You: Every brand, like an individual, is unique with its own personality and tone. This is reflected in a brand’s audience. Something that customers of one company get excited about could seem dull to another company’s audience. We take a strong look at each client’s followers, determine who we are talking to and figure out what would interest them. It is important in social media to be authentic when managing a brand’s personality. For some clients it is appropriate to make jokes or talk about pop culture while others can be more professional. No matter who the client is, knowing who their audience is and what will draw their attention is a must.

2.      Make Conversation: Social media is a different experience than traditional media like television or radio because it is inherently interactive. This is why many people enjoy social media; they know that they can avoid advertisements. In order to not seem pushy, we make sure to use a conversational approach with our clients’ customers. We are able to engage customers by providing them with information as well as responding to comments and posts. Making conversation with customers illustrates that the brand is likeable and approachable.

3.      Keep It Interesting: If what you posting isn’t interesting, it will get lost in your audience’s news feed. In a worst-case scenario, people who at one time chose to follow your posts would “un-like” and move on. One of the first things I learned at Exakt was to put my posts through a ‘why would I care?’ test before sending them to the Internet. While our clients are on social media to promote their brand, we recognize that it is important not to bombard your audience with ad-like posts. If I know a certain audience is interested in television or music, I can catch their attention through common interests and engage them rather than commanding them to buy a product.

Think your company’s social media could use some revamping? Contact Exakt Marketing and find out exactly what we can do for you!

Out of the Basket Gifts creates one of a kind corporate and speciality gift baskets. In their words, “Our number one goal is to provide our clients with custom, personally made gift bundles that are filled with useable items from top to bottom and that are made of high quality products.” However, even though “basket” is in the name, they don’t use traditional baskets in their orders, “we incorporate a useful base that centers on the theme of the gift. By using innovative bases for our bundles it makes the gift giving experience fun and reusable.” (- www.outofthebasketgifts.com) So when Rachel and Debbie, the owners of Out of the Basket Gifts, came to Exakt Marketing to develop the brand of their new company, we had to think “out of the basket”.

When considering Out of the Basket Gifts’ brand development, our goal was to incorporate the fun, playful feel of the gift baskets, while also keeping a corporate appeal, because the target audience includes corporate industries as well as family and friends. We also wanted to show a visual of the “out of the box” personality of the company. These details were to be displayed through the combination of a graphic icon and clean typography.

Out of the Basket Gifts branding by Exakt MarketingThe resulting icon (shown to the left) uses a base shape of a square with two opposing rounded corners, creating a modern “O” shape. A square was used as the negative space  to show something unexpected. Shading was introduced to create a 3-dimensional illusion, the hard diagonal lines play tricks on the eye, pushing the corners “in” and “out” as your eye traces the shape. The base shape is repeated again, smaller and “outside” of the larger shape, the literal display of “out of the basket”.

Out of the Basket GiftsThe typography was kept clean. A san-serif font, was used for the company name and tagline, while the ampersand (&) in the middle brings back in the playful feel of the gift baskets.

The branding was expanded as we explored the marketing materials Out of the Basket was interested in on the web and in the realm of print. It was important to keep the branding consistent, yet new and fresh, across the different collateral. Along with using the same colors and fonts, the base shape was used to create a decorative patterning on the business cards, facebook page and website (shown at top of post). Brand consistency puts a “face” to the company and allows all their materials to be recognized as part of an overall system, a key component to a successful brand.

If your company is interested in branding or rebranding or any of the items mentioned in this blog article such as logo design, business card design, website development or wordpress customization and social design such as Facebook and Twitter, please contact Exakt Marketing today!

As a senior in college, and a current intern at Exakt I know first hand the pressures of the competitive job market and the stresses of trying to get a foot in the door. With over a thousand students graduating from my university this year alone, the biggest question on my mind is: How do I make myself stand out? Just having a degree in hand no longer seems like enough. I believe the answer to this question lies in creativity and personal branding, which might be able to take a resume from the middle of the stack to the top of the pile.

With the modern explosion of social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Twitter, there are more opportunities then ever before to get in direct contact with potential employers. Some innovative individuals are using these opportunities to break away from the conventional resume and cover letter in order to get themselves hired.

One great example is Philippe Dubost, a Web Product Manager from France who was interested in finding new career opportunities abroad. He made himself stand out by turning his online resume into a strikingly accurate mock Amazon webpage, which allows potential employers to read his ‘ratings and reviews’ or contact him by clicking ‘add to cart.’ This resume speaks for itself as it bursts with creative potential and expresses Dubost’s unique personality. Rather then being dull and overlooked, his resume went viral and resulted in more then 1,000,000 page views and over 100 job offers throughout Europe and Asia.

Another creative job seeking effort comes from Steven Severn who used social media to go after his dream job at Saatchi & Saatchi. Severn used Facebook advertisements titled ‘Saatchi Hire me!’ to promote his personal LinkedIn page and targeted the advertisements to show up on current Saatchi & Saatchi employee’s newsfeeds. Spending only $3.43 in advertising costs, the technique scored Severn an interview with his dream company.

It seems that in order to compete with the high number of people searching for jobs today, one may need to think outside the traditional resume and cover letter box to get noticed. With interactive social media and other new developing technologies, the possibilities for inspiration seem endless. Especially when looking to work in a creative field it may be helpful to let your resume truly showcase your talents and personality.

Have you seen any interesting, creative or outlandish resumes? Would you hire someone who used a creative approach or do you believe traditional methods still reign supreme? Leave a reply and let us hear your opinion!

One thing I love about social media: it’s always changing.  As of January 2013, I have a handful of predictions that I consider to be “unavoidable” this year.  I write this post knowing that tomorrow could be a whole different story in this ever-changing social media world that we live in and I welcome any predictions or feedback you may have in the comments below!

  1.  It’s all about photos. This should come as a shock to no one. We learned early on in 2012 that people wanted to see pictures when photo-based sites like Instagram and Pinterest skyrocketed. It wasn’t long before businesses started to join users on the sites and now, more than ever, it’s important for brands to show rather than tell their story. After all, brands are competing with newsfeeds full of adorable babies and hilarious someecards – you’ve got to up the ante and great creative!
  2. Content is the whole damn castle.  You’ve heard the saying, “Content is king, links are queen and social media is the prince/princess” well, I think this year will be the year of content – not just any content though, engaging content. (Duh, right?) I predict that in 2013, if you’re just posting blogs for SEO purposes, your readers (if any) will begin to smell the BS. In order to stay relevant, you’ll need to first and foremost produce content that is interesting, unique and engaging. The more comments and distribution your blog gets, the more success it will have. The only way to get comments and distribution? Engaging, interesting content. You want that user to come back so don’t give them content that they can find everywhere else.
  3. The fall of Foursquare. Sorry Foursquare, but I’m predicting your extinction in 2013. As someone who was very much a Foursquare advocate a little over a year ago, upgrades to what used to be complementing social networks have stolen your thunder. Why go the extra step to check-in on Foursquare when you can accomplish the same on the sites that some of us check more than our own personal email – Facebook, Instagram. Not to mention, the two mentioned platforms allow for lots of  “likes” and “comments” resulting in one happy ego! Yes, the occasional free shot at the neighborhood bar was nice but you don’t need Foursquare to do that. If you want to offer a check-in special, I suggest going with Yelp. Reward those users who contribute to your online reputation on one of the biggest online review sites. Which leads me to my next point…
  4. All hail the Yelper. In 2013, there is no more hiding from it… Yelp is here and it’s here to stay. Some business owners automatically think Yelp (or any online review site) is nothing more than a forum for people to go complain. But the reality is the majority of Yelp is made up of potential brand advocates. So why wouldn’t you want to tap into that community? Of course, you’ll find the random Yelper here and there that has only left one horrible, awful review but you’ll also find a community full of potential customers and influencers. (Hint: the biggest influencers will have an “Elite” badge on their profile. Impressing them is definitely a great goal to set!) Jennifer recently wrote a great blog about responding to online reviews that I encourage you to check out when you have a minute.
  5. Survival of the fittest. People will begin to realize that social media does not follow that “if you build it, they will come” motto. Companies need to put time, effort and expertise into a social media campaign if they want it to be successful. The marketing strategy that you currently implement should absolutely transcend into the social realm and an effective way to do so would be to engage your social media company in more than just social media. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it forever – if social media is being operated in a silo, it will not work. Having a team of professionals who can cover all of your marketing ground (digital, traditional, print, etc.) creates a seamless experience for not only your company but your audience/customers as well.

What do you predict will happen in social media in 2013? Please share!

According to the Retail Email blog, this year the week before Christmas was the busiest week ever for promotional emails. Online retailers sent out an all-time high of around 6 promotional emails over the week of December 17th, which is up 4% versus the previous week and up 16% over the whole year.

What this means is given the volume of emails sent out not only during the holiday season, but throughout the whole year, getting your subscribers to open your e-newsletter can be a tough task. And since most companies are always looking for cost-effective ways to promote their products and services, e-mail marketing continues to be one of the most popular online marketing methods available.

So while you can’t guarantee your audience will open and read your e-newsletter, there are some tips and tricks to designing an effective e-newsletter campaign.

1)   Ask your subscribers to add you to their white list: What this means is they will add your email address to their address book. This will ensure that your newsletters are not delivered to a junk mail folder.

2)   Be consistent: If you can send your emails on the same day and time each week, your subscribers will learn when to expect and anticipate your emails. Most email programs (i.e. MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Vertical Response) allow you to set up a delivery date/time so you can write your e-mail blast in advance, but send it at the same day/same time each week.

3)   Pick the right subject line: Your subject line should preview the contents of the email by summarizing the main point of your email’s message, while not being too sales driven or spam-ish. Avoid writing your subject lines in all caps. Tell your customers in 50 characters or less why they would want to read your message and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box in order to pique your subscribers curiosity (but make sure you’re not so “out there” that you turn them off!) Try out different subjects lines in each newsletter and review your email statistics (through your e-newsletter program) to know what resonates best with your audience.

4)   Keep your newsletter short and sweet: If your ultimate goal is to direct subscribers to your website, short snippets of text with “read more” links back to your site is a good idea. Longer email newsletters are usually filed away and read later (or not read at all).

5)   Convey valuable knowledge and a hint of personalization: Showing your users you’re human, is a great way to connect with your audience. If you can relate anything that you’re doing personally, to the message that you’re sending your audience, include a snippet in the newsletter. Users like to connect with a personal side of your company, not just a sales pitch.

6)   Construct the right footer elements: Your footer should not only abide by CAN SPAM laws, but it should also have a way for your users to opt out of your e-newsletter list if they wish to. This will help ensure your newsletter is reputable.

Have any additional tips and tricks that you’d like to share? What has your company done that has increased your subscription base? We’d love to hear from you!

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