One of the very first steps any business owner must take when starting a business is establishing their branding.
First of all, let’s set the record straight – branding is more than just a logo. You can get a logo designed online for cheap, but that does not always turn out to be the best long-term solution.
Your branding is the North Star of every piece of collateral material you produce. Every brochure, business card, even down to your email signature… they all need to match your brand identity. When people look at anything you have produced, it should be easily identifiable as being associated with your business. That doesn’t mean we need to wear bright orange jumpsuits or use blue ink for everything we print here at Spotted Fox. But when you just glance at something we have created, you’ll think: “Oh, I know them!”
The best way to ensure brand consistency is to create a Style Guide that contain Branding Guidelines. This way, no matter how large your company grows, there are specific guidelines that anyone producing content will have to follow.
Establishing a solid brand is usually done by a professional branding expert like us here at Spotted Fox Digital. Since 97% of first impressions are determined by design, you want a result that stands the test of time and really catches consumers’ attention.
What’s in a Style Guide?
Depending on your business, your style guide can include a lot of different items that are important to your branding.
Some items you may want to include are:
Your Brand Ethics: mission statement or vision
Tone/Voice used across marketing materials,
Negative words to stay away from in marketing – example: realtors must stay away from words that may sound discriminatory in advertising, like “seniors”,
Links to slideshow templates,
Graphics or icons commonly used,
Grammar – do you use the oxford comma or not? Do you use “&” or “and” in communications? Yes, you can be that specific.
Each variation of your Logo that you have. Your logo should always reflect your brand at all brand touchpoints. This is where it becomes important to have some variations to adapt to different platforms or placement requirements. The industry you’re in and the way you will promote your business will determine the necessary variations you will need. We recommend at least 2 variations — one square (portrait ) and one rectangular ( landscape ). You should also consider having your logo displayed with 1 or 2 colors, versus full color.
We highly recommend having a square version because of placements like Facebook Profile Photo and Google My Business pages, though this does not have to be your primary version of your logo.
For instance, RobertsJones Law’s logo is rectangular, but there is a square version of just the RJ for certain placement purposes and it still gets the whole picture across to the viewer that this is RobertsJones Law.
You should also outline what you do NOT want to have happen with your logo. This is where you list sizing, color, and overall requirements and limitations for your logo.
Common examples of Logo Use & Restrictions:
Do not stretch, condense, or alter the dimensions of the logo
Do not alter the placement or scale of elements of the logo
Don’t rotate the logo
Don’t add extra elements to the logo
Don’t use drop shadows or other visual effects on the logo
Do not alter or replace the fonts of the logo
How to Use Logo with 1 or 2 colors
You get the idea.
Your business tagline, if you have one.
Pretty straight forward. Your tagline should be memorable, easy to say and describe the essence of your business in a few select words. Taglines are not 100% necessary, but it is recommended. When you hear “I’m lovin’ it”, you automatically think of McDonalds, right? Then maybe you hear the jingle in your head. Boom! That’s the power of branding!
The fonts that are used in your branding.
Typography is an easy thing to keep consistent in your branding. Typically you want to stick with no more than 2 font families. The fonts you choose should have enough variety with font weight bold, regular, light/thin), spacing and other parameters. Many companies use a Header Font and a Body Font. These can be the same font family in different variations (serif, sans serif; bold, thin) or they can be different, complementary fonts.
The Header font has a little more creative flexibility as it’s not used as often, though it still needs to be legible when used in a sentence. The body font needs to be easy to read in paragraph form while also being consistent with your brand image.
Font has personality. It can be playful, modern, elegant, techy, whimsical, etc. Depending on the type of business you run, you want your font to match your company’s personality.
Another thing worth noting, is that some fonts are HEAVILY overused, and you should pay attention to industry trends when choosing your fonts. A good rule of thumb is to avoid fonts that come preloaded on computers. These are fonts like: Papyrus, Arial, Comic Sans, Times New Roman, and Impact. Adobe Fonts have a large amount of fonts to choose from that you can license and use commercially.
Brand Color Swatches and HEX Codes.
It’s very important to be thoughtful when choosing your brand’s colors. There are a variety of color palettes to choose from. Selecting the right color scheme will depend on the platform (digital, print, etc) you use to promote your business. This will also affect the color codes you use. Hex (or hexadecimal codes) start with a # sign and indicate the color value, typically for html websites and design purposes. Also used for digital and web purposes is RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and Adobe RGB, which are exclusively used on-screen because they match the same colors used on monitors and computer screens.
If you need to make material for print, you may also need PMS (Pantone colors) for screenprinting and other color-matching uses or more commonly, CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black – also called four-color process for obvious reasons) for traditional printing.
You can use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign to convert your RGB designs to CMYK for print, or vice versa. But if you know you are creating material for print or the Web, it’s best to have already chosen your color palette for all brand touchpoints.
Keeping your brand color (s) consistent at all brand touchpoints will result in your target audience recognizing your business simply from your color scheme as consumers instinctively connect your brand logo to your business.
Click below to get a downloadable PSD template you can work from to create your own brand Style Guide!
Advertising platforms have changed over the years and will continue to do so. Staying ahead of the curb when it comes to marketing and owning a small business is crucial.
We’ve put together a list of the top three places to market your business online in 2020.
As we all know Facebook is the big fish in the pond when it comes to social media channels. With over 2.45 billion monthly active users as of October 30th, 2019. (Source: Facebook 10/30/19)
With over 800 million unique active users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social platforms.
Youtube Pre-roll Ads
YouTube – With over 1.9 billion unique visitors. YouTube has started taking market share from some of the big cable companies.
Which platform is better for your business?
When it comes to your business you know best. Before choosing a media platform to advertise, you need to know the following: 1. Who your customers is 2. Which platform they are most likely to engage with your brand
Let’s start with Facebook:
Although it seems that everyone is on Facebook, that doesn’t mean all ages and demographics are likely to engage with your brand on Facebook. Here at Spotted Fox Digital we have seen great engagement with ages 34-50 and women bing the majority. So if your business is serving that age range sand demographic, Facebook would be a great option to look at.
Instagram has a younger demographic:
Now for instagram you can close the gap with the younger age groups. Statistics show that Instagram’s audience is between the ages of 18-34. So if your business is looking for the generation Z and millennials Instagram would be a great option.
Youtube is the new TV platform
And now for the infamous YouTube, with over 1.9 billion logged in users its no doubt that YouTube is a great channel. Research shows the following stats:
96 percent of 18- to 24-year-old American internet users use YouTube
Half of American internet users aged 75 and over use YouTube
YouTube is the top iOS app of 2018
YouTube reaches more American 18- to 34-year-olds than any TV network
YouTube mobile ads receive viewer attention 83 percent of the time
95 percent of YouTube ads are audible
So if you are currently running tv advertising, YouTube may be worth exploring. Video marketing is HOT right now and it’s one of the best ways to communicate to your audience. Our videographers have extensive experience with all types of video production.
These are just a few platforms you can advertise your business on. But in our opinion these channels are the most user friendly when it comes to setting up your ad campaigns, targeting, etc.
There are other platforms to advertise on including LinkedIn, Yelp & Twitter. These platforms tend to lean towards a specific niche or target market. There are also up and coming platforms that you will want to keep an eye on.
Up And Coming Social Media Advertising Opportunities
There are other marketing opportunities online with existing and up and coming social platforms. These include TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest.
TikTok, formerly known as Music.ly was bought in 2017 by the Chinese media company Bytedance. They recently went over the 1 billion user mark!
Snapchat is another one that is becoming more popular for businesses to reach a younger demographic. If you really want to find out what millenials are up to, check out this platform. Here are just a couple of reasons for the popularity of Snapchat:
75% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old.
90% of Snapchat users are 13-24 years old.
Roughly 61% of Snapchat users are female and 38% are male.
Snapchat can be a great way to reach this demographic with your product or service.
Pinterest is another platform that has been around, but is gaining more popularity in the online advertising side.
More than 300 million people use Pinterest to discover new ideas.
83% of users have made a purchase based on Pins they saw from brands. ( GfK, US, Pinterest Path to purchase study among weekly Pinners, Nov 2018 )
At the end of the day, there is not one magic formula for every business to follow. You really have to dig deep and figure out your target audience’s behaviors and what type of content or offer will be most appealing. For help with online advertising strategies, please get in touch with Spotted Fox Digital Marketing.
For social media management, your business does not have to invest time in social media strategy and execution. Instead, Spotted Fox presents you with our management packages to help you establish a strong social media presence.
Social Media Consulting is ideal for your business if you already have a robust presence on social media. In this scenario, Spotted Fox takes you to the next level of social media marketing.
Key Elements for Social Media Marketing
As you venture into social media marketing, you first need to develop a marketing strategy. This strategy is crucial in determining which social media channels you are going to use and how you will use them. For every one of these channels, there should be a clear and compelling purpose.
Your company should have a firm presence on the main social media platforms that include Facebook and Instagram. Depending on what type of products and services you offer will determine which social media channel (s) you will leverage to increase your brand awareness. Facebook and Instagram have the largest market shares when it comes to social media.
As we partner with your business, Spotted Fox will collaborate to develop marketing plans that are designed to generate more exposure to the right consumers and your customers. When it comes to using social media, it is essential to communicate your brand identity and the unique selling point (USP) for your business.
The ultimate goal of social media marketing is bringing about engagement! Engagement happens when a user takes an action on a post or an ad. For instance, engagement could mean a click, LIKE, Share, Reaction, Comment, message, or a click on a post or ad. Engagement is a key part of social media marketing because it means you are being social and engaging with your users! Consumers are more likely to remember a brand they interacted with.
Your investment of time in social media should soon pay dividends in the form of generating followers of your brand on social media. Using a tailored social media strategy for your specific business will yield other benefits like a greater Reach – the number of people who view your post, and Impressions – how many times your social media content is displayed.
Social Media Management Saves You Time
When you opt for social media management, Spotted Fox creates management packages to help your business generate a social media presence without you having to invest your time. Our social media marketing packages include content creation and producing daily posts.
Social Media Management involves us holding monthly strategy meetings with you at your business. From these strategy sessions, we create the content for posts on Facebook and Instagram and other social media platforms.
Social Media Consulting Takes You to the Next Level
Our Social Media Consulting is geared toward a business that already has a strong presence on social media. At Spotted Fox, we come in to take your social media content and marketing to a higher level.
Here are the steps for strategy and execution for social media consulting:
We hold regular meetings
We Develop a rotating 4-week strategy
We help you develop daily posts that are engaging
Generate reports to track activity, engagement, and audience size
With Social Media Consulting, Spotted Fox works closely with your internal staff to create engaging, compelling, and relevant posts. We will direct your team on the types of posts each day, content that needs to be developed, and copy for posts when necessary.
Think of Spotted Fox as your internal marketing team that provides your business with best practices, modern strategies and beneficial advice that enables your business to succeed with social media marketing!
What to Look for in a Social Media Marketing Agency
When it comes to searching for the right social media marketing agency for your business, the most significant factors to consider are accessibility, locale, and do they have a dedicated team member for your company.
You should expect that your social media marketing agency is local, and that they are easy to reach. For accountability purposes, a representative needs to be available to work closely with you. Other important aspects to evaluate include reading their online reviews to assess their competence, and obtain references so you are confident about their level of expertise.
Find out if they outsource their work. Ask them if they blog, provide resources, or host workshops as that would serve to enhance your chances for success on social media.
What’s more, inquire about how much strategic direction they provide to see if it is compatible with your needs. And if your time and involvement are limited, determine whether or not a social media marketing agency can provide content for you.
In essence, if your social media marketing agency is local, accountable, easy to reach, is rich with relevant resources, and has proof of their success, you are on your way to having a potentially successful social media marketing campaign.
The variety of social media advertising options is dizzying. Facebook currently has the largest user base of any social media site, but recent events have left some advertisers and users unsettled. Fortunately, advertisers have a growing number of platform options, including Instagram. If you’ve never considered advertising on Instagram, here are a few things to think about.
While Facebook may have the largest user base, Instagram has grown significantly in the last 18 months. In 2016, Instagram had 500 million users. By 2017, it had 700 million. That’s growth of 40 percent in the space of about a year. In comparison, Facebook had Q4 user growth of just 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2017. To be fair, Facebook has more active users than any other social media platform, but that’s the slowest user base growth recorded in the company’s history. With Instagram’s significant user growth however, it makes sense to consider Instagram as a viable advertising venue.
Instagram currently has the highest user engagement rate among major social media platforms. According to Forrester Research, Instagram has a user engagement rate of 4.21%. That compares to Facebook’s user engagement rate of .07%. Put simply, Instagram advertising has a much bigger impact than Facebook advertising does. It’s also important to remember that Facebook is rapidly approaching its maximum advertising capacity. More advertisers want space on Facebook than Facebook has to offer. The competition for Facebook advertising will grow, as will the cost of advertising on the platform. By pursuing space on growing platforms – where your advertising impact is likely to be greater – you’ll get a better value from your advertising dollars.
Instagram ads aren’t intrusive. That’s a major plus because it won’t alienate your target audience or interfere with their preferred content. In addition, you have a range of advertising options, including photo ads and video ads. A video ad can be up to a minute in length. That provides ample time for you to get your message to your target audience. Carousel ads engage the user, who swipes through the ad content. Users can also access your website and other content through links in your ads. You can also create full-screen ads within Instagram stories.
You can still use Facebook metrics.
Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, so you may be wondering whether there’s a real difference between the two platforms. There is a significant difference between the two products, but there are some commonalities, too. One benefit of the Facebook connection is that you can use Facebook data and the Facebook advertising interface to inform your decision-making about how, when and where to advertise. That’s a big plus if you’re already advertising on Facebook.
Designing and managing a social media advertising campaign may not be your cup of tea, but the professionals at Spotted Fox Digital have a lot of experience in putting together marketing strategies that make the most of your social media options. If you’d like more information about advertising on Instagram, or you’d like to discuss your digital marketing strategy please contact us at (509) 792-3283 or fill out a contact request form. We’ll be happy to give you a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, and show you how Instagram advertising can improve your bottom line.
It’s hard to believe, but in fact, it’s true. Facebook is approaching the point of having more advertisers than advertising space, and that means the company is considering changes to its News Feed.
The News Feed is the primary feed that Facebook users see when they log into their accounts. The News Feed has a mixture of posts from the user’s self-selected Facebook friends, friends of friends, businesses, groups and advertisers. The News Feed is carefully balanced to include what the company believes is just the right mixture of user-generated and advertising content.
In 2016, Facebook began to report that the News Feed would likely reach its maximum advertising content by the end of 2017. Too much advertising content would chase away the users; limited access to the News Feed would chase away the advertisers.
Exploring the Explore Feed
As a compromise, Facebook has been experimenting with the “Explore Feed,” a collection of top-rated, mostly sponsored content. The Explore Feed content looks much like the content a Facebook friend might pass along or suggest. The Explore Feed includes content from all over, with a smattering of material that’s of local interest to the user. The Explore Feed is available on the user’s Navigation menu.
The Explore Feed provides another opportunity to reach out to new friends, using interesting and engaging content. Traditional viral content will certainly have a home on the Explore Feed, but so will short how-to videos, recipes, crafts and entertaining content.
It’s unlikely that the Explore Feed will permanently divide users’ private content from advertisers’ content. Facebook recently conducted a test in a half-dozen countries that did just that. All non-user generated content was send to the Explore Feed, while individual users’ content was sent to the News Feed. The countries in the test included Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka.
According to some published reports, user engagement took a disastrous hit, dropping as much as 75%. Further, journalists in Guatemala complained that the switch made it difficult for users to distinguish genuine news items from fake ones. The journalists fretted that the changes could allow people to be swayed more easily by propaganda masquerading as vetted news items.
Despite the concerns, promoted posts (that is, posts that advertisers paid for) appeared in users’ News Feeds in test countries alongside the users’ private content. Facebook hasn’t said what they concluded from the tests, but maintained that the goal of the test was to determine whether users wanted separate spaces for public and private content. The company also says that there’s no current plan to roll out separate feeds for users’ public and private content.
What’s new in the News Feed?
Worth noting in all of this, Facebook has recently rolled out some changes to the News Feed that will make content easier to read and navigate. In addition, Facebook has touched up the Camera feature. Users can now record 2-second GIFs and post them to Facebook. They can also start a live stream using Facebook Camera.
Live streaming on Facebook opens up a host of new possibilities for businesses that are looking for ways to improve their user engagement. Live streaming provides opportunities to enhance organic Facebook content. It allows businesses to stream demos, how-to events, show off new products and engage both new and existing Facebook followers.
At the same time Facebook is making improvements to the News Feed and other features, it is also focusing on the mobile user experience. Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it would give preference to News Feed items based on load times for its mobile users. The faster a News Feed item loads to a mobile device, the higher its chances of being displayed for a mobile user.
The converse of that is that Facebook will begin deprecating News Feed items that load more slowly. The slower an item loads after a user clicks on its link, the less likely the platform will be to present the item. That could reduce an advertiser’s reach if they’re not at the top of their game when it comes to identifying and serving mobile users.
As you’d expect, Facebook has a target load time in mind, but it isn’t sharing that with its content providers. In addition, Facebook will tweak the standard on-the-fly, so “fast” has become a moving target.
Using Instant Articles
One of the drivers for fast content loading is Facebook’s article hosting service, Instant Articles. Advertisers have the option of hosting their content on Facebook’s servers, in theory to improve the user’s experience. The question remains, however: is an advertiser’s content more likely to be delivered if the content is hosted by Facebook?
For its part, Facebook says that it’s not making the load-time changes to boost advertisers’ use of Instant Articles. The company says that content on Instant Articles will be prioritized using the exact same standards that are applied to third-party content. That’s not an entirely satisfying answer if you think it might be possible that for other reasons, Instant Articles may have an inside track to users’ News Feeds.
Facebook began offering its content hosting service two years ago, but in large part, advertisers haven’t had a reason to warm up to the service. Many advertisers prefer to drive traffic to their own websites, and therein lies the rub. Not all websites are created equal, and Facebook intends to move the slow movers out of the way. Facebook is trying to sweeten the Instant Articles pot for advertisers by helping IA users generate more advertising revenue. They’re also working on incentives to connect content publishers with subscribers via a paywall.
At this point, Facebook’s plan to address the availability of space on the News Feed isn’t entirely clear, but it is obvious that the platform is testing things with an eye toward improving both the users’ and advertisers’ Facebook experience.
If you’d like more information about Facebook marketing, or want to discuss changes to your Facebook marketing strategy,please contact us at (509) 792-3283 or fill out a contact request form
Organic reach is the Holy Grail of Internet marketing strategies, but recently, Internet marketers have delivered what seems to be bad news: organic reach on Facebook may be dead. A careful look at organic reach statistics over the last five years from Facebook seem to bear this theory out.
Organic Reach for Businesses is almost 0. Yep ZERO!
In 2012, it was possible to claim 100% organic reach on some pages. Today, average performance is in the single digits. Some Facebook marketers have begun to use the term “Facebook Zero,” which refers to the percentage of organic reach the typical page can expect to generate. Yes, that’s 0%.
So what kind of content will allow you to catch a visitor’s eye on Facebook?
Highly original, relevant or timely content is always at the top of the list
Posting frequency and timing of Facebook posts
The blend of content – posts, videos, live streams, etc.
The statistics seem to show, however, that most Facebook content isn’t going to deliver the type of engagement that marketers grew accustomed to from Facebook. Does that mean that you should drop Facebook from your Internet marketing strategy?
You Must Update Your Social Media Strategy
No! It means that you need to update your Facebook strategy! You may need to put more effort into content planning and finding your target audience. You may also need to up the ante when it comes to paid advertising on Facebook.
If you’re wondering what’s behind the steep decline in your organic reach on Facebook, you might be tempted to think that Facebook has made some behind-the-scenes changes to its platform. Could those changes be designed to dampen organic results in order to drive higher advertising revenue on the platform?
Facebook – like Google and other Internet marketing platforms – doesn’t readily share what it’s doing, thinking, planning or testing – but it’s good to keep in mind that many different user groups have a stake in Facebook.
Ultimately, Facebook is what it is because of its user base. Facebook doesn’t readily make changes that are going to irritate their users or significantly change the way they feel about the platform. At the same time, the company needs to make money, and it is finding limits to what it can offer its various constituents.
Users Opinions Matter!
Users end up at the top of Facebook’s list of important constituencies because if the users aren’t happy, the wheels will fall off pretty quickly. Advertisers want access to users, and the more users a platform has, the more attractive it is to advertisers. Advertisers want happy users, so the advertisers are all about the user experience on Facebook, too. At the same time, the service is free to use, so the advertisers pay the bills. They want to know that they’re being taken care of.
Aside from the users and advertisers, there are other groups that have a stake in the relative success of Facebook. To some extent, the user experience depends on third-party developers who can deliver apps and other goodies that keep the users coming back, and keep them happy with their Facebook experiences.
So where does the business user fall in all of this? Business users aren’t really in the same category as individual users. Advertisers want to target individual users. Business users also want to target individual users, but advertisers pay for access and business users don’t.
In some ways, organic reach is a victim of Facebook’s success. Advertisers want space on Facebook because there are so many available users, but too much advertising diminishes the user experience. About a year ago, Facebook execs started talking about running out of space on the News Feed – the default, highly personalized information feed that Facebook users see when they log in.
Facebook is Running Out of Space
For Facebook, “running out of space” means that the company is approaching the maximum amount of advertising content it believes it can post on user feeds, without the users getting fed up and leaving. Facebook has been experimenting with other feeds to see if it can open up new advertising streams elsewhere and/or alleviate the demand for advertising space on Facebook.
In this light, it’s easy to see why preserving organic reach isn’t so important to the folks at Facebook. It also speaks to the dilution of organic versus sponsored content on the average viewer’s News Feed.
So what does this mean for the business user?
It’s ok to continue using Facebook to engage your existing FB user community. The users who have connected with your business have done so for a reason. Attracting new users to your FB community may be a little harder, however. If getting more users to “Like” your business page is integral to your social media strategy, it may be time to become a paid FB advertiser. If nothing else, it ups your stake in the Facebook game, and may put you in a more comfortable Facebook relationship with the users who mean the most to your business.
Engaging Users is Most Important
Facebook is working hard to migrate users’ eyeballs from their News Feed to other feeds. In the near future, Facebook may provide advertisers and business users new opportunities to fine-tune their access to the users they really want to reach. A decade or more ago, the “hit count” was an all-important metric for Web pages. Today, Internet marketers understand that the raw number of visitors to a business site is far less relevant than finding and engaging users who are truly interested in the products and services a business offers. In much the same way, Facebook’s efforts to get users to explore new feeds may prove to be the key to Facebook’s continued success.
Contact Spotted Fox Digital for Social Media Strategies that Engage and Convert
If you’d like more information about Facebook engagement strategies, Facebook advertising and social media for your business, please contact us at (509) 792-3283 or fill out a contact request form. Let us show you how to refresh your Internet marketing strategy.