A Guide to Spring Marketing

When developing a spring marketing plan, you may notice that there is not a lot going on during this time of the year. With the passing of several major winter holidays and events, it may seem difficult to create clever and relevant marketing strategies for the spring. But, do not fear, this is where we come in! PivotPath is here to provide you with a detailed guide to marketing during the spring. Continue reading to uncover helpful tips and strategies when marketing this season.

Pick a relevant spring theme for your marketing campaign:

Springtime is associated with many things: growth, renewal, blooming flowers, spring cleaning, longer days, and rain. So, capitalize off of these associations, and make your marketing campaign spring-themed. Using a spring theme can help give direction to your content, and create a more cohesive and appealing campaign. For example, a non-profit food bank that is focusing on the theme of “spring cleaning” could have content that looks like this:

“Jump into spring cleaning by cleaning out your pantry! And when your pantry is organized and cleaned out, give back to your community by donating the food to us!”

Using spring colors, fonts, and photos will also help to create a cohesive marketing campaign. Bright, pastel colors like pinks, yellows, greens, and teals, are very popular in the spring! Use these colors along with floral graphics to create eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing content.

Incorporate contests/giveaways in your campaign:

Many businesses see spring as a lull in their marketing plan, but one way to rejuvenate a marketing plan is to incorporate contests and giveaways. Contests and giveaways, which are typically run on social media, can be a great way to engage and grow your audience.

A contest or giveaway usually incorporates rules, qualifications, and a prize/reward. Rules outline exactly what the viewer must do to enter. Including rules such as “tag a friend,” “comment and tag a friend,” or “share this post” help expand your brand’s reach and audience. Other rules like “follow our page” and “like this post” will boost your brand’s following and engagement. Most importantly, choose rules and qualifications that are the best for your business and the goals you hope to achieve.

When choosing a prize or reward, it is important to choose one that is desirable and relevant. Your prize should always reflect the effort required to win it. For example, if you ask viewers to fill out a long survey, enter personal information, and follow your social media accounts, you must choose a high-value prize to incentivize people to put in the effort. The prize or reward should also be relevant to your business. This will encourage continued interaction with your business and your products/services.

Research unique national or international holidays:

Spring can seem spiritless when compared to the busy winter holiday season. Use this opportunity to give your audience a reason to celebrate! Amidst the better known holidays in spring:

St. Patrick’s Day: March 17th
April Fools Day: April 1st
Easter: April 4th
Earth Day: April 22nd
Cinco de Mayo: May 5th
Mother’s Day: May 9th
Memorial Day: May 31st

…there are many unique holidays that your business can also mention when marketing! Conduct research on national or international holidays for each month, and choose which holidays are most applicable to your business. For example, here are some unique holidays in March:

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day: March 1st
I Want You to be Happy Day: March 3rd
Employee Appreciation Day: March 5th
National Frozen Food Day: March 6th
International (Working) Women’s Day: March 8th
International Day of Awesomeness: March 10th
Plant a Flower Day: March 12th
National Pi Day: March 14th
Everything You Do is Right Day: March 16th
Awkward Moments Day: March 18th
International Day of Happiness: March 20th
National Goof Off Day: March 22nd
National Puppy Day: March 23rd
Make Up Your Own Holiday Day: March 26th
Something on a Stick Day: March 28th
National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day: March 29th

Your business can incorporate these holidays when crafting content, planning promotions, and creating contests. Implementing unique holidays into your marketing strategy will help you stand out, create excitement and celebration, and engage your audience.

Focus on your community and give back:

Because springtime is seen as a time for growth and renewal, many people associate the season with community events and giving back. When looking for marking opportunities, search on community groups and pages to get your business involved, visible, and to give back to your community.

Getting involved in community events can offer your brand an opportunity to interact directly with potential customers and heighten your brand awareness. Set up tables full of relevant swag, like branded fans on a hot day, to encourage people to get to know you, your business, and your products/services.

Another marketing strategy to increase visibility in your community is to give back. Consider devoting a day for your business to volunteer at a local charity. This will benefit your community and benefit your business by making your brand more recognizable and positively received.

When preparing for your spring marking plan, do not hesitate to reach out for help. PivotPath offers a wide range of services to help your business spring into the season. Contact us for a consultation today!

Using Instagram/Facebook/LinkedIn as Marketing Tools

A brand’s social media presence influences 73% of those that engage with the brand. When used efficiently, social media platforms are proven to be effective marketing tools. However, many brands misinterpret their functions, which often results in ineffective marketing.

You don’t always need an account on every social media platform. In fact, this can produce adverse effects. When using Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn for marketing purposes, it’s important to understand that each platform delivers information in a unique way. Here are some insights on how to effectively optimize these social media platforms as marketing tools for your brand.

Instagram is an image-driven platform.

Instagram’s character limit is relatively large, but that doesn’t mean that your text should be. To maximize Instagram as a marketing tool, limit your brand’s bio and captions to two sentences. Including a call of action in your text will prompt your audience to participate in authentic engagement. Hashtags are also a great way to encourage audience participation while simultaneously increasing your brand’s visibility.  

Visual elements are meant to replace text. Use Instagram’s function as an image-driven platform to complement the message you aim to communicate with your post. Images and text should be clear, compelling, and consistent with your brand’s image.   

Instagram also has a story feature that allows your brand to post content that is visible to viewers for 24 hours. Stories offer the ability to directly engage with your audience through question forums, polls, and more. Instagram stories are a great way to enable audience participation and further your brand’s engagement. 

Instagram Reels is Instagram’s newest feature and closely resembles the social media platform TikTok. Its algorithm is currently driving more traffic than any other Instagram feature. Instagram Reels is helpful for those looking to increase brand visibility.

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world.

Facebook has more users than any other social media platform. This poses both an opportunity and a threat: Your brand’s range of communication is highest on Facebook, but this places a great deal of power in your audience’s hands. 

Due to the platform’s considerable audience, it’s difficult to get traffic and engagement without paid Facebook advertising. With paid social, you will expand your reach and impressions while targeting specific audiences to ensure you attract those you seek to engage with the most. Bear in mind that the process to create Facebook Ads changes periodically, so be sure to review the guidelines within the Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook allows its users to post text, images, and videos. When utilizing such a wide range of features, it’s crucial to understand that the text of a Facebook post shapes the success of its visual elements. Keep your text brief and informational. Consider the who, what, when, where, and why of your message. An unclear text will confuse your audience and may cause them to deter.

Facebook was the first social media platform to introduce the “like” function. The platform has since developed by offering additional reactions to posts. This tool is especially useful when assessing your audience’s likes, dislikes, beliefs, and values. Use this information to your advantage when crafting future posts. The share feature allows users to share posts with their Facebook friends, which offers a promising avenue for increasing your brand’s visibility.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

LinkedIn operates as a professional social network. It allows users to disseminate and engage with information that advances their professional prospects. LinkedIn remains an invaluable platform for increasing brand awareness and establishing relationships with businesses and consumers alike. 

LinkedIn’s professional nature requires careful attention to credibility and expertise. Therefore, your brand’s content must evoke professionalism. This is best achieved through using both visual and textual elements together. Your text should be concise yet informative and grammatical to complement clean and compelling visuals.

The use of blog posts and articles on LinkedIn allows for even greater use of the platform in that users can highlight their expertise while increasing their reach. Make sure your content illustrates your brand’s capabilities to expand your audience, strengthen your brand’s identity, and encourage consumer and business partnerships.

Maximize your brand’s potential.

Social media has changed the way we operate both personally and professionally by providing individuals and institutions with the ability to communicate to large audiences.

When using social media platforms as marketing tools, it’s crucial to acknowledge that your content is a representation of your brand. Through understanding the functions of each platform, you can help your brand nurture audience relationships, maximize its reach, and achieve its goals. Contact PivotPath’s team of innovative creatives to help your brand maximize its potential.

Not Every Social Media Platform is Needed to Promote Your Brand

Social media is a large part of everyday life, even more so now that COVID-19 has taken away the ability to connect in person. People are beginning to rely on social media platforms to make meaningful and impactful connections.

This can be intimidating for businesses. Promoting a brand on social media is difficult enough, but relying on social media platforms for all communication with your audience is a new challenge. Many businesses are scrambling with their social media strategies, creating accounts on any and every social media platform possible. Though this may seem like a reasonable option, branding on every social media platform can be ineffective, disingenuous, and a waste of time. 

Here, we outline why you do not need every social media platform to promote your brand and ways you can effectively use social media to make meaningful connections for your business. 

Your audience is not on every platform:

Not many people have an account on every social media platform, so why should your business? Your target audience is a specific group of people. They have unique characteristics and traits, and each social media platform attracts distinct groups of people.

Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all popular platforms, but each is used for a different purpose. Most of Instagram’s users are female and between the ages of 13 and 28. In contrast, the majority of Facebook users are above 30 years old. LinkedIn users range in age, but use the platform for work and business related purposes. 

The data collected on each social media platform will help your business understand where to connect with your audience. Whether your business wants to build connections with other businesses, community members, fitness junkies, gamers, etc., it is important to find which platform(s) they are primarily on. This way, you can meet your audience on the platform they use to further enhance your brand awareness and engagement. 

You do not have the time to devote to every platform:

Creating content and a social media plan takes time and organization. Your business is working hard to cover all your bases. But, when you try to cover every social media platform, your work can become sloppy and ineffective.

Without meaningful content, your audience could perceive your communication as disingenuous and calculated. This is not how you want audiences to perceive your brand. If you are going to be spending the time creating content, campaigns, and promotions, don’t you want them to be meaningful and impactful?

Always prioritize quality over quantity on social media. To do this, you need to allocate your time to the most important platforms for your audience. This way, you can spend your time creating purposeful and engaging content that will create a brand image that is heartfelt, personable, and authentic.

How to make a meaningful social media strategy without every platform:

  1. Evaluate and research your target audience– Ask yourself, who are you trying to reach? Where is your audience spending their time while online? What kind of content does your audience seem to enjoy? Does your audience even have social media? Thoroughly research your audience and their behavior. This will help you to alter your social media strategy to include the most effective kinds of content to post on the most applicable platforms.
  2. Focus your time on key platforms– After choosing which platforms are most effective for your business, focus your time on building quality profiles and accounts. Because you have less platforms to work on, you can spend more time constructing unique and substantial content. If your business is large enough, consider creating multiple specialized accounts on the same platform. This will allow you to hyper-focus on each group within your audience to create personalized content that is more relatable and powerful.
  3. Concentrate on building connections– Your business should be creating connections and relationships, not just partnerships or associations. A focused social media plan will offer the ability to create a marketing strategy that is sincere, personable, and authentic. Whether that be by conveying similar interests, interacting with customers, or using relatable humor, audiences are more likely to interact with a brand they feel personally connected to.
  4. Do not hesitate to reach out for help– Above all, do not hesitate to ask for help! Promoting your brand can be a difficult, meticulous process. Use resources that are available to you, like PivotPath, and contact us for a consultation. Our marketing focuses on building connections and relationships. We will be sure to help your business create a brand strategy that is meaningful and impactful!

5 Ways to Promote Your City or Town to Increase Tourism

At a time when travel restrictions are implemented, cities and towns are frantically searching for ways to increase tourism.

The internet is filled with travel guides and firsthand accounts of visitors detailing their experiences. It’s more difficult to come across tips from a local—someone who knows the ins and outs of the area. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury of knowing someone within our destination’s limits. Consider these five tips when communicating your community’s charm to increase tourism:

Highlight the history and culture 

Every destination has its own unique story.

Aside from the well-known attractions, consider sharing some of your community’s lesser-known treasures. This may involve obscure facts about your town’s early settlers or the spooky tale about the mansion on Main Street. A picture of these treasures with a description of their significance is an opportunity for you to highlight your community’s unique history to increase tourism.

Share your tasty tips

There’s no feeling better than a full stomach after a day of exploring.

Food largely defines a community’s culture. When promoting your city or town, be sure to discuss local dishes and the best places to try them. Consider explaining the flavor profile of the dish and the best way to eat it. With ketchup? With a root beer? At midnight? Who knows, maybe visitors will find their new favorite food or restaurant and come back for more!

Offer visitors a breath of fresh air

We all crave a breath of fresh air.

Provide visitors with the best spots to catch their breath and revel in the wonder of your community’s natural beauty. Be sure to detail the best seasons and times of day for visitors to capture the full essence of the landscape. Also, include any materials that they should consider bringing or leaving behind for their visit.

Catch your breath in nature

Suggest local stores and businesses

The word souvenir is French for “to remember.”

Tokens of remembrance can be as simple as a keychain or as complex as a scarf woven by natives. Present visitors with an opportunity to remember their visit to your community with recommendations for local stores and businesses. This is also an opportunity for you to help local businesses during these difficult times.

Local stores and businesses

Include your personal testimony

They say that home is where the heart is.

Share the little things that you love about your city or town. This may include how you love the transition between one season to another, or your favorite road to drive down in the summer. Personal testimonies appeal to an audience’s emotions. Provide insight into the small and special things that define your love for your community.

Tip: Include hashtags (i.e., #NewOrleans, #ExploringTheCity, #GetInMyBelly) and/or create a page for your city or town. This will help potential visitors easily locate your stories and recommendations.

When implementing the tips listed above, be sure to consider all audiences (independent travelers, couples, families, and seniors). By showcasing your community’s local treasures and adding a personal touch, you can offer visitors valuable information on what to experience when visiting your community.

Enlist PivotPath’s team of innovative creators to help you fulfill these tips and increase your city or town’s tourism. Contact us today for a consultation. 

Resourceful Marketing Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations

Marketing for a nonprofit organization can be difficult. Usually, there is little to no money set aside for marketing efforts. Because of this, it is crucial to use resources that are naturally present. Here, we outline marketing strategies you can use that are accessible and inventive. A tight budget calls for unique solutions; let’s get creative! 


Reach out to resources in your community

One of the best resources for a nonprofit to use is its community. Creating a marketing approach that involves the community can help nonprofits build a supportive foundation to grow from. 

Local TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers are great resources within the community to help spread awareness of your organization. So, start creating relationships with the news outlets in your community and make your nonprofit’s appearance a fun occasion. 

For example, a not-for-profit animal shelter could reach out to local new stations and suggest a “Pet Of The Week” segment. This way, the nonprofit gains weekly media coverage and the news station gains viewers for the new, fun segment—a win-win for both parties!

Grow your online presence

An important aspect of marketing to strategize is online engagement and social media. Social media is a great tool to use to connect with a large amount of people in a short amount of time. But, to elicit a response and reach the correct audience, it must be used strategically. 

It is important to remember that each social media platform serves its own purpose. For instance, what your organization posts on Facebook may not be effective on Twitter, and vice versa. 

Take the time to decide what kind of content your organization wants to put out on each platform. This will help to increase both engagement among users and overall awareness of your organization. Check out our blog about social media and branding to learn more.

Create influential and meaningful partnerships

Creating and maintaining relationships is important for any organization. For nonprofits, it is essential. Using existing resources and growing on established relationships provides many benefits for nonprofits. 

Look to your current supporters for help with your marketing efforts. Usually, supporters are thrilled to become active in an organization that they are passionate about. Partner with supporters or other people in your network that have a wide reach and can be advocates for your nonprofit. 

For example, advocates can promote your organization by posting content on their own social media accounts, running fundraisers, and using their networks to reach more people. Additionally, partnerships like these would help your organization reach groups of people outside of your current scope. 

Participate in visual marketing

One of the most impactful marketing strategies is the use of visuals. Visuals, such as pictures, infographics, and videos, can express your organization’s mission in a unique and effective way. 

When scrolling through social media or reading the newspaper, people are typically drawn to things that can tell a story with little effort. A picture or video allows for viewer ease and attracts more attention due to enticing colors, stunning images, and thought-out graphics. 

Visuals can involve people within your organization as well as the community that is impacted by your mission. For instance, a video of testimonials or a photo with a quote can story tell in an appealing and effective way for your organization.  

Personalize your outreach communication

People tend to disregard mass-created messages, sending a large amount of communication and information to the trash. Creating more personalized communication will increase response rates and engage supporters. 

Each donor and supporter is different. The way to continue their engagement will vary depending on their age, current level of commitment, socioeconomic status, and interests.

Consider planning out personalized messages for different groups of people when creating your monthly newsletter or weekly updates. This will ensure that the right information gets to the right people and will help to maintain engagement and interest in your nonprofit. 

 

Above all, do not hesitate to ask for help! If you are a nonprofit looking for assistance with marketing strategies, contact us for a consultation. Our marketing focuses on storytelling and community connection, and will be sure to help your organization enhance its presence!

Mental health in marketing

The Importance of Mental Health in a Marketing World

There’s no denying that social media and the digital age that we’re in has negatively affected mental health. Time and time again, studies show a negative correlation between mental health and social media, especially with the younger generations.

Whether you’re a content creator or marketing specialist, chances are the marketing tactics you use are related to psychology. Marketing can contribute positively or negatively to your audience’s mental health and wellbeing. Knowing what psychological tricks in marketing do can help you market more mindfully, especially in the age of COVID-19.

How is marketing related to psychology?

Marketing that uses psychological tricks to evoke emotion is known as neuromarketing. This form of marketing uses neuroscience to understand how consumers’ brains react to certain marketing stimuli.

All marketing is psychology. Every advertisement aims to elicit an emotional response from the consumer, persuading them to buy into the product or service. A few examples of marketing psychology include:

FOMO Effect

FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is a popular marketing technique that relates to loss aversion. This tactic is a big part of many marketing campaigns, from phrases like “don’t miss out” to advertising time-sensitive sales. FOMO creates a sense of urgency to persuade the consumer that they’ll regret not buying your product or service.

Social Proof

“Social proof” is a technique that pressures consumers to do something because everyone else is doing it. You probably use this technique already through categories like “best sellers” or showcasing reviews on your website or socials. One of the more prominent examples of social proof is the recent rise of influencer marketing.

Check out how influencer marketing can help your business in our previous blog post.

Pro-Innovation Bias

This is the wording high-tech or innovative companies use pro-innovation bias to convince consumers they need their product. Phrases like “the world’s first…” or “introducing the revolutionary…” are designed to make you feel that you have to be one of the first to buy this new piece of technology or product.

What can marketing do to your mental health?

Of course, many of these techniques are harmless. However, many ads use techniques that tell consumers they’re inadequate without that product or service. There is a constant stream of advertisements that tell you your body isn’t good enough or clothes aren’t trendy enough – that you’re not enough. They then advertise their product as helping you live a more satisfying life. These can subconsciously damage your self-esteem and your perception of yourself and the world.

Even some products meant to improve your life can shame you. For example, eco-friendly products persuade you by making the average consumer feel responsible for saving the environment. In reality, corporations and big businesses account for most of the pollution and plastic waste in our oceans. Buying a reusable straw is great for reducing your own carbon footprint, but won’t do much in terms of tangible change – but it sure is a good marketing tactic.

Despite the knowledge that some marketing tactics impact your mental health, the fact still remains that marketing is rooted in psychology. So what can we do?

How can we improve?

All of this isn’t to say that marketing is inherently bad or intentionally manipulative. Instead, marketers need to be more aware of the marketing strategies they use and how they use them. Taking into account the mental health and wellbeing of your target audience can benefit consumers as well as companies.

Balancing ethics with profit can show that you care about the messages you’re putting into the world, and the people you’re selling to. In fact, offering support and being authentic about something so stigmatized can help you build trust with customers.

You can’t untangle psychology from marketing, but you can make it shift to focus more on what your service or product provides rather than what the consumer lacks.

If you want to create more meaningful marketing, contact us to request a free digital assessment.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

5 Signs You Need to Upgrade Your Content Creation Game

An essential part of any digital marketing strategy includes creating relatable and engaging content. Whether you’re just starting out in content creation or have been doing it for years, there will come a time when your content won’t connect with your audience the way you want it to. By understanding why your content isn’t hitting the mark, you can work to improve and upgrade it. 

These tell-tale signs that you need to switch up your content creation strategies will help you start understanding how to make your content the best it can be.

You’re repeating the same ideas in every blog

No one likes to hear the same thing over and over again. In digital marketing and content creation, persuasion is key. If you’re repeating the same things in each blog, you risk not only boring your audience, but making them less likely to reach out or come back to view new content.

Instead, try to hone in on a few simple ideas while providing content that will engage your audience.

Traffic is decreasing

Losing followers on social media, decreased engagement or low conversion rates can all be impacted by the content you’re putting out. If you’re seeing a decrease in traffic, it may be a sign your content is getting old. 

Trying out different content strategies and new techniques can be a great way to try and increase traffic and visibility. Even if you’re producing great content, it can still lead to less engagement if it’s not hitting home for your audience. Experimenting with different styles of content can help you upgrade your content creation game and promote engagement.

Your content is full of industry jargon and complex terms 

Relatability is a key factor in content creation. Chances are, your target audience isn’t limited to industry professionals – it’s everyday people. Using complex terms not only makes your content harder to read, but can make you seem out of touch with your target audience.

Although you want to highlight your achievements in your particular market, do it in a way that’s easy for someone with no industry experience to read. Explain complex topics in simple terms. You may want to consider creating a glossary for readers to refer to – like this blog on SEO terms.

Social media is great for content creation

Your social media and website don’t show a clear brand identity

Creating a recognizable brand identity is part of any good content strategy plan. If your content doesn’t show a strong identity, it will be harder for your audience to connect to. 

A brand identity isn’t just a catchy phrase or logo, either. Brand identity can include the tone you use in your blogs, a particular color scheme or anything else that sets your content apart from everyone else’s. Creating content that is uniquely yours will make sure you stand out in your audience’s mind. It may also help you attract a wider audience. 

You’re not passionate about the content you’re creating

If you don’t care about what you’re creating, it can show in your content. Whether you’ve been creating the same type of content for too long that it’s gotten tedious or boring, or you just don’t feel like you’re creating your best work, it can have an impact on your content. 

Branching out with your content creation is one of the best ways to create content that you feel proud of and passionate about. Tie in pop culture or your personal passions to create new and engaging content that entices the audience. After all, if you’re not passionate about your content, how can you expect anyone else to be?

Content creation is vital to expanding your reach and keeping your audience engaged and interested. To create the best content you can, make sure it’s real, recognizable and relatable

If you’re ready to step up your content creation game, we can help! Check out our content services here and let us know how we can serve you.

How To Attract Students To Your Institution With Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that, if utilized properly, can promote your institution.

Studies show that Generation Z is more connected to social media than any other generation before them. Making sure your institution has a recognizable and relatable social media presence can give students a glimpse into what life is like at your institution and potentially show them that your institution is the right fit for them.

But attracting potential students isn’t as easy as simply having an account; you need to make sure you’re appealing to the right audiences and using social media to your full advantage.  

Why Does Social Media Matter?

Social media can be an added boost to promote attention towards your institution. However, it can also be a direct way to introduce your institution to potential students. The right social media presence can have a huge impact on attracting new students and retaining current students. 

If a student sees an outdated or barely-used social media page for an institution they’re considering, it could deter them from exploring your school further. On the flip side, a savvy, fun social media presence could peak their interest. 

It’s important to be relatable in your posts, and that starts with understanding the wants and needs of your targeted audiences. For attracting students, make sure you are highlighting all the best features of your institution, social events and campus culture. All students know what a typical institution is like, so what makes yours recognizable? What makes it stand out?

Making sure your social media presence is recognizable and engaging can help your institution stand out to potential students. Beyond attracting students, using the stats on social media can help you determine if you’re reaching your target audience. It can also show you how many people are interacting with your posts and if your social media strategies are effective.

What’s the Best Social Media To Use?

The three main social medias that will give you the most traffic are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But how can you use them? What’s the best strategy for each one? 

1. Twitter

Twitter is great for written content as well as sharing others’ posts. Use Twitter to livetweet campus games and use hashtags to increase engagement and visibility. Use a LiveTweet App to create a Twitter wall for your events to show potential students what others are saying about your institution.

2. Instagram

Instagram is one of the most creative and customizable apps to attract students. This platform has a ton of features that can help your institution. Features such as Instagram highlights and stories can make information about your institution more accessible. The photo grid on each Instagram account creates the opportunity for you to craft a unique look to attract new students. 

3. Facebook

Facebook should be the most professional presence you have out of all the social media platforms mentioned. Studies show GenZ doesn’t use Facebook as much as older people do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Even if your content doesn’t reach a potential student on Facebook, it may reach a parent or relative. It’s generally a good idea to share your Instagram posts to Facebook to make sure you’re reaching all your audiences.

Facebook is a good social media for older adults.

4. TikTok

TikTok has the potential to be a great social media platform for institutions because of its “For You” page. The “For You” page uses an algorithm to show the user videos similar to ones they’ve interacted with. It can also show content related to topics they’ve shown interest in. TikTok’s algorithm may help you reach your target audiences quicker. It also means you don’t need to have tons of followers for your video to gain views – giving your institution more visibility.

Not all social media is created equal when it comes to reaching your targeted audiences. It’s worth noting which ones may not be the best platform for your content.

  • Snapchat

Although this is a popular social media platform, your content isn’t accessible to people who aren’t following you, making it harder to reach potential students. Instead, try adding geotags for people to use when they’re in the school’s vicinity. 

  • Pinterest

Research shows that Pinterest is popular with older generations. While some older adults go back to school, it usually isn’t your target audience. Pinterest is also not ideal for content creation.

  • Tumblr

Tumblr isn’t as commonly used as other social media platforms. While it may work to use as a website to promote a service, using a similar photo-sharing app like Instagram will generate more engagement. 

How Can You Promote Engagement on Social Media?

Promoting engagement on social media can help your page gain more traction, and with more followers comes a more recognizable presence..

To promote engagement, make your page as interactive as possible. Instagram stories are a great way to pose questions, create polls or quizzes and interact with your followers. 

Giveaways on social media for school swag are another way to promote engagement. Try making some rules for the giveaway that will increase engagement. Ask followers to tag a friend in the comments or add the post to their story. 

Using hashtags can help get your page on more screens, but be weary of having too many in your captions. Use a few simple hashtags at the end of the post or incorporate them into the caption itself to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.

Gen Z uses social media more than any other generation.

Features To Take Advantage Of

  • Twitter/Instagram Polls

Polls are a great way to promote engagement. You can use the poll feature to ask institution-relevant questions, such as whether your team’s going to win the next game. However, to attract new students, make sure to keep some questions more broad to keep potential students involved.

  • Live Videos

The live video feature is on multiple platforms and is a great way to show prospective students what your school is like in real-time. Whether you want to record a game or other campus event, use this feature to highlight campus culture.

  • Instagram Highlights

Instagram Highlights are a convenient way to organize and archive past Instagram stories. You can use this feature to give a potential student a quick way to access information. Take some time to make well-designed stories that highlight all the best parts of your institution and answer some FAQs. Be sure to keep your Instagram highlights up to date.

There are benefits and drawbacks to any social media you may choose, but each post is a chance to attract a new student to your institution. If you’re looking to create a Real, Recognizable and Relatable social media presence to attract more students, PivotPath can help! Check out our social media management services here.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of the West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Influencer Marketing in Business

How Your Business Can Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing

We’ve all heard (and possibly cringed at) the word “influencer” before. It’s safe to say that the term has become somewhat taboo in most professional settings. 

What comes to your mind when you hear that word? Shiny young adults posting edited photos on Instagram? Celebrities engaging in product placement and sponsored advertising? While these may be the most popular images of influencers portrayed on social media, influencer marketing has grown into a legitimate strategy for marketing small businesses and building a valuable network. 

Influencer Marketing
Influencers are changing the face of marketing forever.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Before we dive into the many facets of influencer marketing, it’s important to understand what is meant by the term “influencer.”

Influencer: One who exerts influence, a person who inspires or guides the actions of others.

Merriam-Webster

The title isn’t confined to any one industry or field.  According to the definition, anyone with a large reach and considerable impact can be considered an influencer. The trick is to align yourself with people who already have a large, loyal following. 

So, how can you start to build this large following if you’re a new business owner with minimal connections, or if you live in a rural area? Here are a couple different ways to start making connections and building relationships with influencers in your field.

Start a Blog

When most people hear about endorsements, they think about teaming up with celebrities or notable public figures to advertise a product. This approach may be helpful for some, but if you own a small local business partnering with a celebrity isn’t a very viable option. Instead, one of the best steps you should take is to start a blog on your website.

You’ve probably heard similar advice before, and maybe you feel like writing isn’t your strong suit. However, every business-owner has a lot of unique knowledge to offer. Like they say, knowledge is power. 

When you take the time to write informed blog posts and optimize them so that they are easily found through search engines, a great deal more traffic will be drawn to your website. One of the best methods of increasing traffic and broadening your reach is to connect with other influencers in your field by creating a guest blogging network.

Guest blogging
Form a solid guest blogging network; two heads are better than one!

How to Form a Guest Blogging Network

Guest blogging is a manageable first step to expand your industry contacts and start gaining some notoriety in your field. Here are a few quick steps on how to get started:

  1. Reach out to someone you respect and want to be a guest blogger on your site. Is there another blogger you enjoy who has more followers than you? Do you see a space where you could share your expertise on their website? Do your homework first and make sure that the guest blogger can benefit from the collaboration just as much as you can.
  2. Assuming that they agree to write a piece for you, allow them to self-promote by adding links back to their own website. This not only allows the guest blogger to feel as though they have important information to share, but it connects both of your blogs through the internet.
  3. Follow through. Ask your guest blogger if you could also write a piece on their blog. Assuming they say yes, a whole new door of opportunity will be open to you. You will have full exposure to their followers, and you can (tastefully) promote your own business and website. Essentially, it’s a win-win!

It’s important that you find influencers naturally.

Don’t try to force relationships, because it will start to seem obvious that you’re only seeking some kind of personal gain. Instead, comment on people’s blogs, communicate on social media, and be open to helping others. Over time, you will start to stand out and become an approachable, recognizable name.

Get to know your guest bloggers personally by showing genuine interest in their work before reaching out. If you build a rapport through social media first, it will feel much more natural to suggest a collaboration. Cold emails aren’t always the best way to go when it comes to forming an effective support system.

Engage With the Community

The business world is all about relationships. Apart from guest blogging, another way to use influencer marketing to your advantage is to go out into your community. Serving other small businesses is a great way to prove you’re engagement. You may not gain any monetary value from it at first, but forming valuable relationships can pay off ten-fold in the long-run. 

For example, let’s say you own a sign-making business downtown and you see that a new ice cream shop is opening next door. You could introduce yourself to the new owner and offer to create a sign for them at a steep discount. This interaction not only promotes the service you provide, but benefits another business owner who will most likely recommend your product to others. 

Community engagement
Make a difference locally and the world will follow.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to be an influencer – it’s all about surrounding yourself with positive relationships and making those initial connections. Here are a few other ways to meet business-owners in the community who might be interested in your product:

  • Attend charity events or volunteer
  • Consider setting up a booth at a local fair, market, or festival
  • Visit other small businesses, introduce yourself, and hand out business cards or coupons
  • Sponsor a local school’s sports team

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing strategies such as guest blogging increase your reach as well as the impact of your brand. In search engines, the index is the complete archive of all existing web pages. To find your page, a search engine sends out crawlers (or bots), which jump from page to page using links. Simply, the more links you have traveling to your website, the more chances search engines have to index your site. 

If links constantly point to your site, search engines will recognize it as a valuable resource and rank you higher than the competition. Guest blogging is a win-win situation because it will provide you with a larger network of bloggers and business-owners, increase your website traffic, and also benefit the guest blogger.

Much of the same can be said for other forms of influencer marketing. Reaching out to forge beneficial relationships solidifies your passion for your business and opens the door to new opportunities. It’s not just a clever way to gain more Instagram followers, but the future of marketing itself.

  • Do you want to start building a brand that influencers would love to promote? PivotPath is here to help!

Cammie Conn is a Theatre & Performance Studies major at Kennesaw State University, and she also studies through the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program. When she’s not practicing creative writing, she can be found playing guitar, reading voraciously, or jamming to her vinyl collection. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Why Branding Should Be the Focus of Your Social Media

In the world that we live in today, almost all businesses use social media channels to promote their brand. What are some social media channels you utilize that build your brand awareness? Are you using them effectively? Using social media to grow your business helps consumers remember you and your brand based on what you present to them. This is why understanding the tools of different social media platforms help you to focus on letting your audience know who you are and what your business stands for.

Social media is a vital tool to get the word out about your business.

Inevitably, social media is the heartbeat of our digital marketing world. Thus, marketers use social media to increase brand awareness and grow their consumer base at an accelerated rate. Your business thrives off what your customers perceive about you. That said, how you design and present yourself through social media is a key factor by how customers will remember your brand.

How can you use social media to know who’s interested in your brand?

First, it is important to establish your marketing goals before thinking too ahead of your social media presence. It is important to understand the “why” behind your social media platforms because this will  impact your overall brand. Here are some useful benefits of using social media.

  • Measures your key performance indicators (KPI).
  • Gives you a platform to connect to your growing audience.
  • Provides user-generated content.

These are a few tips on how social media can measure your consumer base as you execute your marketing goals. In addition, they help serve you to bring awareness of what is trending on the market.

How can you use social media to promote your brand?

Be active on social media.

When using social media, it is imperative that you are consistent with the content that you post. Posting on a daily basis tells your customers and audience that you are active and it makes you stand out from your competition. No one wants to follow a business that rarely posts content let alone interact with its consumers. Also, being active daily gives the opportunity for consumers to reach out through direct messaging. They can reach out on anything regarding their consumer needs/wants and questions about your products or services. Choosing to be attentive to your customers’ needs will help set you apart from your competitors.

Grow your consumer base by answering their questions on social media.

Focus on how your design attracts consumers.

What attracts a consumer, when scrolling through a business’s social media page is its design. Your design should ultimately represent what you are selling to your audience. It has been proclaimed by interior designers, artists, and color psychologists that color absolutely affects moods.

  • Does your color scheme match your brand’s values? 
  • What type of mood or emotions do you want to demonstrate to your brand? 
  • Does the design complement the mood of your social media page?

In short, these are a few questions to consider when forming the layout of your social media pages. Consider how your business’s values can influence your graphic designs on social media.

So, why should you focus your branding on social media platforms?

We live in a world where we are constantly connected to many different networks. In the business world, social media networks are a valuable asset to build on your communications with prospective buyers. In this case, using multiple social media platforms helps build your brand identity so that other networks notice your business.

Having a strong social media presence establishes credibility.

When a consumer is looking into buying anything of good quality, it is important that factors of trust are established between the business and consumer to influence the purchase of that product or service. That said, having a professional presence on social media establishes credibility on your end as a business.

Standing to your missions and values and actively participating in those factors are noticed by whom you are trying to reach. When posting content for your audience, remember that you are also representing your company’s values. So, everything that you demonstrate through your social media platforms represents your organization’s efforts and overall brand.

Having a strong social media presence makes your brand recognizable.

Today, some brands that are recognizable in social media are GoPro, Nike, and Spotify. They implement effective strategies on each of their social media platforms that influence their consumers’ future spending habits. Here are a few tips on how to make your brand more recognizable to various audiences:

  • Use multiple accounts for different audiences.
  • Do research on which platform is geared towards different age groups.
  • Choose one platform that can build on customer service.
  • Again, stay consistent with your social media accounts.
  • Tailor your tone and voice that fit different social media platforms.
Did you know that 81% of small and medium businesses use social media platforms?

Knowing the similarities and differences of each social media platform gives you strong awareness of whom you should reach that fit your buyer personas. In the world that we live in today, social media networks are one of the fastest-growing industries. It’s important that your business uses social media to gain a following network. We access information at our fingertips which revolutionizes how we perceive our networks. Posting sharable and valuable content helps your audience understand what you stand for. By doing so, it helps create lasting connections with your consumers that increase creative and effective strategies based on what your customers want out of your social media pages.

  • Check PivotPath’s services on how we can boost your social media branding.

Always strive to learn different effective marketing strategies that increase your brand awareness in an influential and impactful way. 

Thalia Rodriguez is a Communications major with a double minor in marketing and professional writing at Grand Canyon University. When she’s not practicing writing, she can be spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, or cooking delicious plant-based dishes. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Illinois Green Alliance

Illinois Green Alliance

Coordinating and promoting a virtual event can be stressful; let PivotPath wear that hat, creating  graphics and curating copy that attracts new audiences while re-engaging existing brand supporters.

Summary:

The Illinois Green Alliance needed visual design pieces to promote its first ever virtual GreenBuilt Home Tour, an annual event in Illinois bringing green advocates, construction builders, homeowners and more together to tour a variety of green-built homes. 

About the Client:

The Illinois Green Alliance is a membership driven, non-profit that works to promote green buildings and sustainable communities. The organization believes that green infrastructure is key to strengthening neighborhoods and improving the quality of life for everyone, and is the Illinois local affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council.

 

 

 

 

The Results:

PivotPath helped the Illinois Green Alliance promote their virtual GreenBuilt Home Tour, resulting in a record 687 online viewers and a visual presence that was memorable, re-engaging existing supporters while reaching new green advocates and staying within their marketing budget.

illinois green alliance social graphic pivotpath

 

The Challenge:

The Illinois Green Alliance’s annual GreenBuilt Home tour brought thousands of Chicagoans out to view green buildings in an attempt to implement green initiatives across the city and state. With the emergence of COVID-19, most organizations have had to make adjustments with how they conduct events. The Illinois Green Alliance needed to promote the event in a strategic manner to avoid losing the interest and support of those who may not have been as thrilled about virtual tours.

The Solution:

PivotPath developed a marketing strategy for the GreenBuilt Home Tour that included attractive and engaging visual graphics for social media, paid advertisements and customized HTML email templates. This strategy-building phase set the direction for the design work to come.

Don’t worry! Tips for a Thriving Small Business

Back in 1997, Netflix entered the movie entertainment industry, competing with the leading provider of home movie and video game rental services, Blockbuster.

Welcomed with skepticism, the powerhouse brought new solutions to movie watchers: DVD-by-mail subscriptions, video streaming, and branded content. However, success did not come quickly. In 2011, Netflix lost over 800,000 members due to increased pricing and over confidently moving too quickly. Fast-forward to today and Netflix now serves over 125 million users worldwide. What lessons can we learn from Netflix’s success story? No matter how innovative or market ready your business may seem to be, snags will come; so be prepared.

Before you dream of the big bucks and a healthy bottom line, metaphorically view yourself as a runner in a marathon; the tortoise versus the hare. You, in some way, have prepared for this race. As you approach the line and begin to secure your footing, different scenarios and ideas fill your head with ways to finish the race on top. You’ve prepared for the victory lap, the prize.  

The gun shoots and you’re off. While admiring the roar of the crowd, you unintentionally misstep, tripping over yourself, and stumbling, as you view your competition continuing on ahead of you. As a business owner, it is easy to be hare-like: passionate, enthusiastic, full of ideas, and overly confident, lacking a plan and discipline, because of underestimating the unforeseen challenges ahead.

Instead, be like the tortoise. Prepare for a marathon. Consider these common mistakes small business owners make and, if you’re currently guilty, remedy them as early as now:

1. Doing it “Solo-Dolo”

You might believe it to be more efficient if you do everything yourself. As a startup, most business owners do, in fact, juggle many hats: sales, marketing, accounting, human resources. However, eventually business grows, becoming more demanding of your time and you won’t be able to expertly handle all aspects of your business. As a potential result, your business could become inefficient and unsustainable.

Delegation is key.

Hire the right kind of talent needed for your business. Start by hiring an assistant (virtual assistants are a great option) part time for specific tasks, eventually increasing the hours as you see fit. This will free up your time abit, allowing you to focus on growing your business and reaching your targeted audiences. Plus, collaboration always sprouts the best ideas.  

2. What Business Plan?

Yes, some successful business plans like J.K. Rowling’s might have been created on a table napkin. But this may not hold true for everyone. A business plan is very much like a blueprint for a house or a building. It helps integrate all of your ideas in one place, and expound on those ideas for implementation.

A good business plan should cover all aspects of the business, including summary, products and services, customers/targeted audience, marketing, strategy, pricing, and financials. Like blueprints, business plans should have contingency plans and exit strategies in place as well. Some may think business plans are an unnecessary nuisance – however, having a solid strategy allows you to go back to the books when things go awry.

There are a lot of resources online on how to create a business plan, and you do not have to be an expert to put one together. Whether you plan out the next year, or the next three years, you will not go wrong with having an operation efficiency strategy in place.

3. “I am my only competition.”

New businesses are established daily, and as the saying goes: there is nothing new under the sun. Thousands of companies have competing products and services, creating variations in marketing and branding; (Note: have you walked down a bread aisle lately?) By negating the vital step in conducting an analysis of your market, you’re tremendously undermining your potential to connect and capture your targeted audience. Knowing where you stand among your competition is essential for several reasons. With this knowledge, you can:

  • Determine a competitive price point based on what competitors offer
  • Identify marketing and advertising dos and don’ts
  • Provide better quality products or services

Knowing where you stand and how to remain competitive gives you a lot of foresight when creating a successful business.

4. Marketing, Smarketing!

Sure, you have an awesome product or service; but how are you reaching your targeted customers? Marketing is vital for any business and content is the king of today’s marketing environment. The most successful brands in the world have developed detailed marketing strategies that help them inspire, entertain, and connect with their target audiences.

Whether it be print, social media, or blogs, marketing is essential in increasing your brand visibility and sales. If you currently do not have a marketing strategy in place, start by setting a feasible marketing budget, and utilize the various free marketing platforms. Keep in mind that marketing is only as effective as the analytics that back it up. Blasting content that does not actively engage your audience or increase sales is just as bad as not having a strategy at all. Analyze and understand what your analytics reveal about your marketing and steadily work towards improving your methods.

5. “I know what people want!”

In order to market something people want, you must understand who they are and what they need. Carefully define your targeted audience(s); the narrower the focus, the faster the growth. Once you have identified your customers, craft messaging that translates the value your brand brings them. Again, you can only tailor your content once you’ve researched and understood the needs of your customers. After giving your audience a reason to connect and consume, you will establish and retain loyal and passionate customers.

Every business owner faces challenges. Becoming an entrepreneur means stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks; with this, comes mistakes and lessons. If you’ve read this article and want direction on brand development or marketing services, we are here to help. Let us take care of connecting you to your audience(s) while you do what you love: running your business!