Building Strong Client Relationships

November 22, 2017

At Marketing In Color, we are not your typical marketing agency. You won’t see us doing one-off logos or accepting orders to design business cards. Yes, we can do that, but that’s just not our style. We are your marketing partner. We work with companies that may have a small, in-house marketing staff, but need a full marketing team. That’s where we come into play. We collaborate with companies long-term to help develop and execute their overall marketing strategy. This includes the branding, the look and feel, the voice, and everything in between. From the perspective of an account manager, here are a few things that really help build strong client relationships.

Communication

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CommunicationLike any healthy relationship, communication is key. Clients expect full communication – and rightly so. They expect communication that is transparent, clear, and timely. But we also have these same expectations. If a client is not fully open with their wants and needs, there is always the chance for error. Whenever we meet with our clients (which at the minimum is weekly), we have an agenda that specifies what we will be discussing and what needs to be accomplished in the meeting. This strategy creates structure and keeps our conversations on track. If we ever leave the meeting with unanswered questions, we are in constant contact with the appropriate individuals who can get us the answers we need.

A Key Point Person

A-Key-Point-PersonIt’s critical to our ability to do our best work for our clients to have one point person to work extremely closely with on a day-to-day basis. Just as the MIC account managers are the liaison between the client and our internal team, this point person is the liaison between the C-level at their company, and one of MIC’s account managers. We trust they are communicating exactly what their management is communicating. We also trust that they will be timely in their responses, to get us what we need when we need it, so we can ensure that we deliver on time.

Meeting Deadlines

Meeting-DeadlinesWe meet deadlines. And the only way that is possible is when we have responsive clients that provide us with everything we need to deliver. If, for some reason, our client is unable to meet a deadline, they notify our team before it’s too late. The timelines we create for our clients are so critical to the way we operate, and clients that meet their deadlines get our best work. We understand that unforeseen events occur that leave our clients reacting to situations. But it is so crucial to have that open communication so that we can help nip problems in the bud.

We Are Your Second Line of Defense

We-Are-Your-Second-Line-of-DefenseOur clients are part of our team. We want our clients to look good no matter the situation. If we are notified of a “fire” that needs to be put out, we jump on the project immediately to help prevent any harm. We’ve stayed late many nights to ensure projects are complete and new project proposals are finalized. We are always looking to make our clients better and take them to the next level. Great clients are clients that also want to see that growth. We go the extra mile for our clients in hopes that our clients will go the extra mile for us, too.

We’ve been working with some of our clients for more than 10 years. It is the open communications we’ve built with our clients, the trust they’ve bestowed on us, and our ability to deliver great work that has created the most successful client relationships. If you think your company needs our services, please reach out to us. We’d be happy to discuss your marketing options and listen to what your company’s wants and needs are.

Why You’re Failing at Social Media Marketing

July 7, 2017

It’s no wonder companies are hopping on the social media bandwagon considering there are 2.789 billion people actively using social media. Not to mention social media continues to rise with a 21% increase in active users since January 2016. But before your company starts creating any social media accounts, you’ll need to answer a few key questions.

Why is your company looking to implement social media into the marketing strategy?

why-is-your-company-implementing-social-mediaIs it because your competitors are using social media? Is it because your customers are using social media? If you can’t answer why you’re using social media, you’re wasting your time and money. Like any other project or campaign, you need to have goals and a strategy.

Who will be managing the social media accounts?

managing-social-media

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Social media is a full-time job. You need to have at least one person specifically dedicated to social media. To put this into perspective, a social media manager is responsible for curating content, crafting messaging, scheduling and posting content, measuring and analyzing social media efforts, and engaging in the conversations. This person also knows everything related to the business. This means they know who the target audience is, they know the voice of the company, they know the products or services offered, they know when new products or services are being offered, they know all the promotions and when they occur, and so on. Your social media strategy will fail if you overlook this position and think Frank from accounting can take on this job. I’ll say it again; social media marketing is a full-time job.

Does your company have the budget to add social media into the marketing mix? If so, what is the budget for your social media efforts?

budget-for-social-media-marketingA common mistake is people think social media is free. Yes, most platforms are free but the work is not. You must factor several things into your marketing budget. This includes the salary of your employee(s) who are managing the accounts, paid advertising (Facebook Ads or Boosted Posts), graphics and video production, social media management tools (Sprout Social or Hootsuite), campaigns and promotions, and content. The industry average is between $200 to $350 per day. Social media is not free, so before you start a social media platform, establish a budget.

What social media platforms will your company be using?

social-media-platformsWe see this too often than we should. Your boss wants you to start a company Snapchat account because his niece is on Snapchat, so that means everyone is on Snapchat. Wrong. Not every social media platform is right for your business. You do not have to be on every platform because (most likely) your customers are not on every platform. Instagram is a great platform for the food industry but not necessarily for a waste management company. Know the platforms, your customers, your product/service, and then you’ll know which platforms you should really be using.

What are you posting and when?

what-are-you-postingIf you’re not posting consistently to your social media channels, then you’re failing. You need to have the content and resources to post on a consistent basis. Social media serves many purposes with one key objective – engagement. That means the social media team is constantly monitoring the channels and consistently posting and engaging with your audience. Social media channels are for conversations – keep that in mind when posting. And do not push products down people’s throats. You should be posting content to engage with your audience. So that you can listen to what they’re saying and what they want. If you’re constantly posting without engaging and responding on a consistent basis, your social media efforts will fail.

Businesses fail because they can only answer one or two of the questions above,  but not all of them. You cannot begin to add social media into your marketing strategy until you have all of these questions answered and have a plan in place. Without these answers and a strategy, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

If You’re Not on Facebook, You Should Be

March 31, 2017

Today’s digital world is filled with so many social media platforms. Especially if you think about now compared to the days of Myspace and AIM. And sadly, if you were born after the 90s, you vaguely know what I’m talking about. With so many social media platforms, it’s hard to determine which one your company should be using. Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn, it can make your head spin. But if your company is on social media, here’s one thing that is almost a guarantee – your company needs a Facebook Page.

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Facebook Fast Facts

Facebook Fast Facts in-textIt may seem like a no-brainer, right? But you’d be surprised how many companies and major execs are skeptical of everything Facebook offers. So, let’s look at some fast facts to see why Facebook is the golden child of the social media siblings.

  • At the end of 2016, Facebook had 1.87 billion monthly active users. The second and third most active social networks included WhatsApp (acquired by Facebook) and Facebook Messenger (also Facebook-owned). Your business can get in front of a lot of people through Facebook, so what’s stopping you?
  • In 2016, Facebook videos were shared 4.5x more than YouTube videos. And video interaction on Facebook was 110% higher than YouTube during the last six months of 2016. That’s impressive considering YouTube is, or was, the place for viewing videos. And if video isn’t part of your Facebook strategy, it should be since over 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook every day!
  • The average daily time spent on Facebook is 35 minutes. Are you having difficulty getting in front of your audience? Facebook could be the answer!

What Facebook Algorithm Means for Pages

What Facebook Algorithm Means for Pages in-textNow here’s the catch 22 with having a Facebook Page – your company has the ability to get in front of a target audience but only if you’re willing to pay. Facebook has drastically changed since 2004. When first launched, it was a social network connecting friends, family members, and colleagues. Then companies started to hop on the Facebook “free advertising” train and started to annoy Facebook users. Now Facebook’s algorithm has made it more difficult for Pages to get in front of Facebook users. Business Pages must now spend more to get in front of their followers. This all started to occur in 2016 when Facebook went back to its core values, with family and friends receiving top priority over business Pages.

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money In-textAlthough Facebook’s algorithm makes social media marketing more difficult for businesses, it is still worth the investment. It’s the largest and most active social network. It is incredibly precise when it comes to advertising. And it can be extremely targeted due to its broad database including demographic information. Besides the ability to consistently communicate with your customers, you can also get to know your target audience. Facebook can reach your customers. You just have to be willing to spend the time and the money to make it worth your effort.

Blogging: You Can Run But You Can’t Hide

January 3, 2017

Standing out in a noisy world can be extremely difficult. Fighting for the attention of your customers among your many competitors can be tiring. When looking to differentiate yourself from the common tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram picture, blogging can be your golden ticket.

Blogging has been around for quite some time now, and while some companies are adopting this into their marketing strategy, others remain hesitant. For those of you who choose to ignore blogging altogether, the time to change your ways is now! Blogging is like doing the laundry – no one really wants to do it but eventually, it needs to be done. Once your company gets in the swing of things, blog writing will become much easier and you will have an advantage over your competition.

Take the Time

Take the TimeBlogging takes time, no doubt. A blog’s length can be anywhere from 300 to 1500 words depending on the topic and the audience you are trying to attract. This seems like a lot when compared to a tweet having a max of 280 characters. However, blogging is another way to increase your brand’s visibility and exploit an alternative platform to communicate with customers. Blogs also make your company more relevant and reputable, as well as increase your site traffic. 

See Also: #IBELIEVE in Social Media

Blogging to the Top

Blogging to the TopBlogging is a great way to share positive information or news about your company. It gives your company a personality and allows your viewers to see what your company values. This content is a voice in your viewers’ ear that is proven to show results, especially when it comes to building up your site’s SEO. Company sites gain 55% more visitors due to company blogs, according to this article. Blogs also give sites 434% more indexed pages, increasing the visibility of a company in search engine results. So now, your company is rising on the search results.

Keep it Consistent

Keep it ConsistentRemember once you’ve launched your company’s blog, posts need to be made on a consistent basis. When first starting to make blog, posting once or twice a month is a solid start. When you become more comfortable with writing and sharing content, the ideal number of posts can increase to two or three times per week. This establishes consistency and makes your company more relevant. Also, it provides more content for sharing. You can share it not only on your website and social media platforms, but employees can share your content, and then their connections – the snowball effect, working in your favor.

Blogging is a way to share your expertise in an area while adding your own creative flair to that topic. So make it fun and something that your viewers find valuable and interesting. After all, if you are sharing the same content as everyone else, you are not standing out. So what are you waiting for? Start typing away.

See Also: Social Media for Franchise Brands: Facebook for All, Twitter for One

Why Deleting Facebook Comments Is a Big No-No

December 9, 2016

Social media is an engagement tool that has been extremely useful for businesses communicating with their customers. One social media platform that surpasses the rest is Facebook.

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The World’s Social Network

the-worlds-social-networkFacebook is one of the most used social media platforms for businesses. And it’s no surprise considering there are over 1.79 billion monthly Facebook users. Not to mention it’s the most used social media platform in the world. So it’s clear why most businesses jump on the Facebook bandwagon. But, what they don’t always know is how to use the platform. And no I don’t mean posting pictures and videos to their page. Rather, what they are posting to their page and how they are engaging with their followers. Specifically, what businesses do when they receive comments – the good and the bad.

The Good Engagement

the-good-engagementNothing is more gratifying than seeing your posts getting engagement. Whether it’s a post “like”, a “love” reaction, a comment, link click, or share, it makes a social media marketer’s heart happy. These positive comments reaffirm your social media efforts are working and you’re communicating the right message to the right audience.

The Not-So-Good Engagement

the-not-so-good-engagementBut then brands will receive unhappy or angry comments by followers. And their initial reaction is to hide or delete the comment. This is a big no-no. Comments shouldn’t be deleted. There are certain exceptions where it is okay to delete the comments – like if it’s spam or someone is being derogatory, but in most instances, comments shouldn’t be deleted.

Look at Comments as an Opportunity

look-at-comments-as-an-opportunityWhen you receive an angry comment on a post, rather than getting defensive and deleting it, look at how you can address the issue. Otherwise, deleted comments will create a bad connotation on your business. For starters, it does the following:

  1. It looks like you’re avoiding the issue. Don’t be an avoider.
  2. It looks like you’re ignoring your customers. Don’t ignore people. It’s not nice.
  3. It looks like you just don’t care. Show them you care!
  4. It makes people more upset. Don’t make people mad. That’s also not nice.

But that is the ugly truth about perceptions. And rightly so. If I make a comment, I want it to be addressed by the company. Maybe the comment wasn’t true – address it. Maybe it was a complaint about your product or service – address it. Keeping a positive relationship between your business and customers is all about communication and engagement. If you’re not responding to your followers’ comments, you’re really only practicing one-way communication. And no relationship can survive like that.

How to Respond

how-to-respondAddress the issue and respond to the comment as soon as possible. Apologize if needed and look into the issue. If the person continues to respond in a public thread, simply communicate that you will directly message them. Then continue the conversation in a direct message or try to get it offline by talking to them over the phone. Communication is key in a relationship, especially in a social media relationship between your business and your customers.

These Facebook commenting tips can really be used on any social media platform, but Facebook typically has the most engagement. Next time your business’s page receives a comment, look to see how you can address the issue.

4 Questions to Ask Before Joining Social Media

October 11, 2016

Social media has changed the way businesses communicate and market to their audiences. Social media has become a tool that allows businesses to provide instant feedback to customers and potential customers. And in a world where we want an immediate response, social media can be extremely beneficial for businesses. But before you create a social media account, make sure you can answer these four basic questions.

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1. Why do I want to start a social media account for my business?

Why-do-I-want-to-start-a-social-media-account-for-my-business-Icon-In-Text-ImageAsking this question is key. If you don’t have a goal for your social media efforts, you’re wasting your time. Businesses can join social media platforms for several different reasons, but should always have a plan before starting. Social media is a communication tool – a two-way communication tool. Sure, you might want to increase sales through social media, but if you’re constantly pushing the sell down your audience’s throats, you will be doing more harm than good.

So maybe you start a social media account to listen to what your customers are saying about your product. Or maybe you want to highlight your company culture – the brand’s personality that your customers don’t always get to see. Or convey company news, industry news, product news, and anything relevant that would interest your audience. Your social media presence should portray all of those aspects, but it is important that you know why you’re adding social media into your business’ marketing strategy.

2. Do I know what platforms my audience is using?

Do-I-know-what-platforms-my-audience-is-using-Icon-In-Text-ImageThe last thing you want to do is join a social media platform because everyone else is doing it. Business are different and so are their target audiences. A recruiting agency would use LinkedIn as its primary social media account, but you wouldn’t see a local florist posting regularly on this platform. Instead, the local florist will most likely start an Instagram and Facebook account, showcasing the art of its floral design. Different platforms achieve different outcomes. Facebook is the leading social media platform globally; however, Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform. Both are performing extremely well, but if your audience isn’t on either platform, reevaluate why you want to start a social media account for your business.

3. Do I have enough content to post on a consistent basis?

Do-I-have-enough-content-to-post-on-a-consistent-basis-Icon-In-Text-ImageYou do not want to start a social media account if you can’t maintain it. Do you have enough content that you can make weekly posts? Don’t make a Facebook page and then abandon it. If your website has a lot of content, post it. If you have a company blog, share it. Do you have YouTube videos? Share those too. Between your internal content library and the external online resources, you should make sure you have enough content to post consistently to your social media platform.

4. Does my business have the resources?

Does-my-business-have-the-resources-Icon-In-Text-ImageAnd lastly, the question that is often overlooked by businesses. Does my business have the resources? Do we have the time? The people? The budget? Social media is NOT free. Sure the platform might be, but someone is getting paid to manage the social accounts. It also takes time. You should have a social media team in place. Otherwise no one will know who’s designated to post and your social media account will become a ghost town. If you don’t have the manpower or the time, then it is best to hold off on social media. There are also social media management tools like SproutSocial and Hootsuite that can help manage your social media efforts.

If you can easily answer all of these questions, then your social media strategy will be simpler to implement.

Using Hashtags on Social Media

September 22, 2016

Remember when hashtags were called pound signs? That was probably around the time when we were listening to the dial up sound while trying to connect to the Internet. Oh how times have changed. The origin of the hashtag has already been discussed in chapter one of Hashtag 101, so let’s move along to chapter two – using a hashtag in your social media marketing strategy.

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A Hashtag’s Purpose

A Hashtags PurposeHashtags are used to highlight words or phrases. They help people find trending topics as well as specific subjects and interests. Your business might use hashtags related to your industry, industry-related events and conferences, and nationally or locally trending topics. However you choose to use hashtags in your marketing strategy is up to you. Just be sure to know the basics. And remember, spaces or special characters (-!$&) cannot be used in a hashtag. Simple hashtags work the best since they’re easily remembered and less likely to be misspelled. But when it comes to creating a hashtag for your company, make it unique and use it. Unique hashtags will keep people on your content.

Where to Use a Hashtag

Where to Use a HashtagHashtags are not intended to be used everywhere, nor do they work everywhere. So stop using them on LinkedIn. They won’t work. If I used a hashtag in this blog, it would not work like a hashtag used on Twitter. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr are the major social platforms that support hashtags.

Hashtag Etiquette

Hashtag EtiquetteFor some social media platforms, there is a hashtag sweet spot. But on most social media platforms, one to two hashtags will suffice. And please do not make an entire sentence out of hashtags. We’ve all seen that one person who #adds #a #hashtag #to #every #word #in #the #sentence. That’s a bad habit and can look like spam. So let’s see how many hashtags are recommended for different social media platforms:

Twitter: Because of Twitter’s character limit, you should limit your tweets to no more than three hashtags.

Facebook: Even though you can use hashtags on Facebook, it is commonly not done unless the hashtag is trending. I’ll say you can add one hashtag to your post, maybe two, but I’m being lenient.

Pinterest: Hashtags used on Pinterest work a little differently than on other platforms. You can only click on a hashtag in the Pin’s description but not board titles or board descriptions. Pinterest is also rare in the fact that unique hashtags work better than generic ones. When you click on a hashtag in Pinterest, your results will be that exact hashtag, plus pins and boards that contain the word. As a business page, if you want people to stay on your content, use one to two unique hashtags.

Instagram: Like Twitter, hashtags used on Instagram are used to increase a company’s visibility. Typically, three to five hashtags are recommended on Instagram. You could use up to 30 hashtags, but then you’d be like that person who #adds #a #hashtag #to #every #word #in #the #sentence.

What’s trending?

Whats trendingAs a business, you want to make sure your hashtags count and aren’t a waste of character space. So if you’re trying to hop on a trending topic, there are tools to help you. When you start typing a hashtag in Instagram, it will begin to auto populate hashtags and the number of times each has been used. Twitter has its Trends bar on the left that shows trends tailored toward you and your location. Facebook has a similar feature with the Trending filter on the right side of your newsfeed. Both Twitter Trends and Facebook Trending can show hashtags and words or phrases without a hashtag. I personally like to use hashtags.org for finding trending hashtags – the free version of course. It’s a website that will show you trending hashtags, popular hashtags for different topics, and hashtag analytics for the past 24 hours. This tool is extremely helpful when you want to use a hashtag for a campaign and gain as much visibility as possible.

So next time you’re using a hashtag, follow some of these tips to keep your hashtag game strong.

Social Media in Tampa Bay

August 12, 2016

Working with social media day in and day out, you come to grow fond of companies that just get it. The ones that have a great social media presence on the right social media platforms. In Tampa, there are some noteworthy businesses that are social media savvy. And with The Best of The Bay taking place, it seemed only fitting that we highlight some of the Tampa Bay businesses mastering social media.

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Tampa Bay Lightning

Not only has the Tampa Bay hockey team proved to be one of the top hockey teams in the nation, it has also created a great brand for itself. “Be the thunder.” Can we just take a minute to appreciate that slogan? This franchise knows how to brand itself.

Especially on social media. The consistency across all of the social channels will make any social media marketer’s heart sing. The logo for the profile picture and consistent header image are two of the most basic components of social media that businesses often miss. You can see it across some of the featured platforms below. 

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Ciccio Restaurant Group

If you’re a local Tampa resident, you’re probably familiar with the Ciccio restaurants in South Howard. Green Lemon, Daily Eats, and Fresh Kitchen are just some of the local favorites of the Ciccio restaurants. Their restaurants’ community involvement stands out across all of their social media. Whether it’s Yoga in the Park, a Bootcamp class, or a fundraiser, it’s evident that this restaurant group likes to stay actively involved within the community. And that’s just another key factor to a social media strategy – being social. So next time you are volunteering in your community, take pictures and share them on your social media platforms. The picture will highlight your company’s personality too.

social-media-in-tampa-bay-Block-In-Text-image-ciccios 

City Bike Tampa

This is a local bike shop run by an awesome group of people – it’s evident just by looking at what’s posted on social media. Companies often overlook the aspect of portraying their brand’s personality but that is one of the key components to a successful social media marketing strategy. Social media’s primary role is NOT to push your products and sell, sell, sell. It’s a communication tool that acts as another source for your customers and potential customers to engage with you, as well as to exhibit your brand’s personality. City Bike Tampa’s posts make it clear that they are a proud, local Tampa Bay business, which also has a pretty cool company culture too!

social-media-in-tampa-bay-Block-In-Text-image-city-bike-tampa

So if your company is on social media, make sure your social presence is cohesive. A consistent profile with similar header images will keep your brand’s image cohesive on social media. It should be obvious that your audience is on your company’s social channel. And try to post less “salesy” content. Instead, focus your efforts on more engaging content like community related posts and company culture posts. By following some of these basic steps like the featured Tampa Bay businesses above, you will become a master of social media in no time at all.