Friday, 31 October 2014

If You Own A Business, Make Twitter Your Bae

If you're a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. I get it. You may think that marketing can take a backseat to your other tasks, but it really shouldn't. If anything, marketing should be one of your main foci when starting a company. Especially social media marketing. As a Digital Marketing Specialist in a constant battle to create exciting and engaging content for our clients, I know very well that coming up with new content for all these social media platforms is difficult. To consistently create new and interesting content is a job all on its own.

If you choose not to place ads, make commercials, or even keep up with a Facebook page, you should make Twitter your bae* (meaning number 1 choice). Twitter is the rabbit hole of the social media world. It's easy to get lost or overwhelmed by all that's going on but don't jump down just yet. What you need to know about Twitter is that it's:

  • A news feed
  • A trend machine
  • An in-time communication platform 
The beauty of Twitter is, if you're stumped and can't come up with any content, you can take to the trends! Twitter tells you what is trending every day (what topics are being most talked about, AKA what people are most interested in right now) in your area as well as nationally. 

All you have to do is connect ONE of those trends with your business. Take a look at these:

In reference to Ghostbusters.

Posting in real time about a trending topic will put your business in front of hundreds of eyes. Sure, this won't always guarantee an impression or a new customer. But you will be noticed, maybe you'll gain a new Twitter follower, maybe you'll get some feedback. The possibilities are endless.

The next thing you'll want to do is directly reach out to your customer base. Twitter has an amazing advanced search for exactly this reason. If you're an ENT doctor, you could search for words like "ear infection" and find someone in your area that is talking about their ear infection and directly connect with a new potential customer. For free.

Develop a list of search terms that are relevant for your business and set a goal for your direct contact. You may want to reach out to 20 people per day or maybe you only want to spend 15 minutes a day doing it, that's up to you. Here's an example of the interaction you want to aim for:

Make sure that you check in with your Twitter account a few times a day to reply to any responses you may get. You'll want to respond within 24 hours for maximum impact. This kind of interaction with the people in your area can have substantial benefits for a small business. Not only does it get your name out there, but it shows that you care about your potential clients. It will also help set you apart from your competitors, which is never a bad thing.

All in all, if you don't do any other marketing, at least use Twitter. These are not things you have to do everyday, but the more you do them the more it will work. And, if you really don't have the time to handle your company's marketing, you can always call us.

If you've shunned Twitter in your marketing efforts previously, I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions or something to add, tell me in the comments section below!

*Disclaimer: The use of the word "bae" in this blog was purely for humor. We do not condone the use of this word outside the context of this blog. Seriously, don't use the word "bae" ever.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Our Work: Enfiniti Global - "Our Why"

CLIENT: Enfiniti Global, a multi-level marketing company focused on providing everyone an equal opportunity for success through selling clean, renewable energy.

GOAL: Produce a :60 video for social media that emphasizes the company's goals and how to join their team.

SPOT: Enfiniti Global - "Our Why"

Monday, 27 October 2014

Alien: Isolation - Doing Immersion Right

Here at Swagger, we've been working on a video game for a client of ours (coming soon...) and it got me thinking about my favorite video game and what makes it great. And, since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I'd share some information with you about the best and scariest game on the market right now. 

For me there are few scares better than the Alien Franchise - and by that I mean the first two movies. A number of days ago Alien: Isolation hit stores and I purchased it for PC. It covers the events between the first two movies. What really got me excited about this game was the fantastic immersion that it creates. Immersion is when you forget your real world surroundings and get so involved with what you are watching or doing that you believe it is your reality. For video game developers this is often one of the major goals they try to achieve with a game.

Creative Assembly, the amazing folks who developed Isolation, hit the nail right on the head as far as capturing the design and atmosphere of the first movie - Alien.  Everything from the interior design to the sounds and lighting is painstakingly re-created in Isolation. There are many environments that are recognizable from the film, but what was amazing to me was how the developers took these areas and connected them all together seamlessly with completely new spaces that weren’t portrayed in the film. 

If you have ever watched the movie (if you haven’t I certainly recommend it), you will be blown away by the attention to detail that is presented in this game.

See that down in the bottom left corner? Mop marks! What kind of developer takes the time to put in janitorial details like that?!?!  In real life we would barely even notice details like this. But, to a developer, small things like that are important, especially if a developer wants you to be as immersed as possible. There are plenty of small things like that throughout the entire game that greatly add to the experience. 

Aside from the spectacular imagery that is presented to you - sound and light play an equally important role in creating immersion. While navigating the giant space station you are stuck in, you're able to hear all manner of things going around you, which is important if you want to survive! There is an alien on board *OBVIOUS SPOILERS!* and its hunting you. You can hear it navigate the vents in the ceiling above you, hear it drop down in a room next you you and rummage for people to eat. Paying such strong attention to the sounds, you get lost in the game.

The alien also deserves special mention, without it the game would lack tension and the ability to make you cry in the corner. The AI that controls the alien is superbly designed. It learns your habits; where you hide, how long you cower in fear before attempting to get across the hall and lock a door, and I’m fairly certain he can count how much fuel you have left in your flamethrower so it can cut you down as it runs dry. The alien will play games with you (and your brain), making you think it hasn’t seen or heard you in a room, and wait for you to start leaving your hiding place before dropping in behind you and taking you out.

If you are looking for a good scare and an amazing immersive gaming experience, I highly recommend grabbing Alien:Isolation. If you are too scared to play it yourself, go make some popcorn then make a friend play it and watch them! 

What has been the most immersive game for you? Are there any shows that really captivate your attention that you get lost in? Do you disagree with everything I've said? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 20 October 2014

4 Ways ZMOT Can Help Your Small Business

Most entrepreneurs and small business owners are so busy working in their day-to-day business that they don’t have the time or knowledge needed to do the branding and marketing required to build their business. However, understanding and implementing modern marketing techniques can make a big impact on your marketing productivity and effectiveness, the growth of your small business, and ultimately, your bottom line.

The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is a relatively new marketing model developed by Google that can help you, as a small business owner, improve your marketing strategy. ZMOT is the moment of informing, educating and reaching customers before they decide to purchase.  For example, when consumers hear about your business, the first thing they will do is look for information online before even considering to visit. Therefore, you have to be relentless about providing consumers with straight-to-the-point, engaging information that will peak their interest in your business. Now, how exactly can you do this? Here are 4 tips that can help you take complete advantage of ZMOT for your small business.

1. Website
The first place a consumer will visit during the ZMOT is probably your website. Set up a website that is visually appealing and includes videos and graphics. Too much text on a page can drive visitors away so be sure to describe the nutshell of your business in just a sentence or two.

2. Social Media
Make sure that your small business has the maximum online exposure on the right social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. In ZMOT, these places are usually visited after your website to get an idea of how you interact with customers and the community.

3. Video
Consumers hardly ever want to read paragraph after paragraph about your business. You can increase the chances of visitor staying on your site longer if you include a brief 1-2 minute video about what your business is and what you sell. According to the Online Publishers Association, 80% of Internet users recall watching a video ad on a website they visited in the past 30 days. It gets even better. Of that 80%, 46% took some action after viewing the ad.

4. Maintenance
This is probably the most important part of ZMOT. Once you have the right information available on the right platforms, it is crucial to maintain them updated and accurate. Unfortunately, small business owners are often too busy and fail to stay relevant. Outdated websites, Facebook pages without engagement or YouTube accounts without videos are prime examples of not taking advantage of ZMOT.  When consumers encounter vague online pages, they are more likely to become disinterested in the product or service, and start looking for alternatives. Don’t let this happen to you! Develop a marketing strategy and be consistent on its execution.

Takeaway: All in all, ZMOT is the first point of contact between a consumer and your business. Be sure to take advantage of this moment by providing consumers with quality information in engaging formats. Are you already implementing these ZMOT strategies in your marketing strategy? If not, go on and give it a try! I will leave you with this video of a real-life small business owner sharing her ZMOT experience.

Do you think ZMOT is an accurate marketing model? Which of these four steps do you find the hardest to implement? Let me know in the comments below!