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  • Author: Melanie

Controlling Your Online Presence: Why Your Business Needs a Website

Before I begin, let me answer the question I know some of you already have. No, having a Facebook page for your business is not the same thing as having a website. This is the mistake some of our members make when deciding on a digital marketing strategy. They assume a Facebook page will work just the same as a website and, even better, Facebook is free! I’m here to tell you, it’s not the same. While some might argue that they can’t afford to pay for a website, my response to that is you can’t afford to NOT have a business website in 2018. And yes, you may recognize me from previous blog posts highlighting the importance of social media, especially Facebook. So you know that I’m by no means against Facebook business pages. However, I think it should be one of many instruments in your digital toolbox. I worked with our web design team and reviewed customer feedback on Facebook from some of our stores’ pages to develop a case study comparing websites versus Facebook business pages. I…

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Introducing: Sendible for AWG Members

The AWG digital marketing team is excited to announce a new social media option for our members! Sendible is a social media content management and reporting tool. We have expanded our offerings beyond managing Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles for retailers. Sendible is for AWG members who want to have access to a curated content library and vendor-sponsored promotional content. With Sendible, we supply the content, but you can choose what to post and when. While retailers can work directly with Sendible to sign up for the platform, we offer it to our retailers at a group discount, plus full access to our digital marketing content library. An AWG Sendible login provides you with: A library of engaging social content created by AWG Sales Services. This also includes AWG Brands content. Access to vendor promotion content. This includes SEP NOW content that highlights specific digital coupon deals. The ability to create reports for your digital channels and customize the data to fit your goals. Monitoring tools showing what customers say about you online other than what’s on your social media…

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The Future of Social Media Marketing & AWG Social Media Program

As the AWG social media program coordinator, I definitely have a specific theme to my blog posts. That theme has narrowed down even more in the past few years as social media continues to evolve. With that evolution, I regularly remind the audience reading our blog that dynamic, engaging and even targeted social content is essential. It’s always been important but as social media channels become more and more saturated with brand content, and as Facebook continues to update its algorithm, it’s becoming more vital for brands and businesses to be as strategic as possible with their social media marketing. With that idea in mind, AWG Marketing recently rolled out a new service structure for our members who are on our social media program, specifically those who use our services for their store’s Facebook page(s). We used to offer three separate tiers with various levels of involvement and posting frequency for three separate prices. But after a year or so of this structure, we realized it’s not to the benefit of our members to be on the two lower tiers.…

Social Media Giveaways Breakfast

Social Media Giveaways & Contests (Recap)

I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t Melanie just tell us that we can’t have contests on Facebook anymore?” Yes. Yes, I did. However, the latest Social Media Club – KC breakfast, “Social Media Contests and Giveaways,” was about more than the “Like, Comment, Share” Facebook contests I was referring to in that blog post. During this Q&A panel, Kasim Hardaway (founder, TKC Agency) and Brandon Painter (content manager, Barkley), discussed the various ways you can use contests and giveaways on all social media (not just Facebook) to build a following, gather information and analytics, and even generate content from your customers! Here are some of the highlights. Be Prepared, Have a Plan & Communicate Kasim recommends having a clear strategy for your social media contest or giveaway. Don’t have a contest just for the sake of having one. Do you want to increase your followers on a social platform? Do you want to collect email addresses for your email database? Do you want to gather user-generated content (UGC)? Determine your end goal for the contest and start from there. Kasim…

Finding Success on Facebook for Your Small Business with a Team of One (Recap)

All AWG retailers are independently owned and many are smaller, one-store operations. They often don’t have the resources to manage large-scale social media strategies with expensive agencies so they come to us for help. Or they hire a marketing professional to work for them in-house. Either way, many of our stores work on small budget with small teams, sometimes even a team of one. I recently attended a Social Media Club of Kansas City professional development breakfast with guest speaker Travis Pflanz, owner of WebWorks of KC. His presentation, titled “Finding Success on Facebook with a Team of One,” highlighted strategies and tools small businesses can use to maximize their Facebook marketing with small teams and small budgets. Travis drove home one point throughout the presentation. All businesses should focus on their website and any other non-social digital properties they own before even considering Facebook or social media in general. He reminded the audience that your business doesn’t own Facebook, but you do own your website. Make sure you have a strong content strategy on your website first. You can…

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Facebook Advertising 101

I regularly write blog posts about what our retailers can do to increase organic reach on Facebook. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of paid Facebook advertising, which includes Facebook ads and boosted posts. Paying for additional exposure on Facebook is becoming more important as you try to stand out among all the clutter your customers see in their Facebook timeline. Since this is my first post about how to use Facebook advertising, I’m going to keep it pretty high-level and focus on the most common questions I get from retailers who don’t have much experience with this digital marketing strategy. Why Should I Use Facebook Advertising? Despite the ongoing rumors that “Facebook is dead,” and even the recent controversies surrounding the social media platform, two billion people still actively use it every month. And while it isn’t as popular with people in their late teens and twenties, you can focus on that demographic with Instagram. Here are a few tips from one of my recent blog posts about Instagram strategy. You can use paid advertising on Instagram…

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What Makes Social Content Great?

In the 4 ½ years I’ve worked for AWG, it’s been surprisingly difficult to get content consistently from the retailers I work with on digital marketing. Whether I’m working with a store owner or director, a department manager, or an up-and-coming associate, I often hear, “I’m not sure what to send you for social media content.” And you’d think it would be a no-brainer. Take pictures of food, of course! Food pictures are all over social media, right? But that’s part of the problem. Even when I do receive content from stores, sometimes it’s just a little too generic. You may have a beautiful produce display that makes for a great picture, but what differentiates it from any other produce display at a grocery store? The more popular social media has become, the more “noise” there is on every channel. You have to make your content stand out so that customers can find it through all that noise. Using these different types of evergreen content can change things up and help you stand out on social. Timely Content Like I…

The Art + Strategy Behind an Effective Instagram Account (Webinar Recap)

Quinn Tempest, freelance graphic designer and digital marketing strategist, started out her webinar about Instagram with this simple quote. It’s a simple quote for a simple social media platform. While the platform is simple, your Instagram content strategy should be anything but. According to Quinn, there has to be a balance between the art of content creation and content strategy for your business Instagram account. Instagram for business isn’t just about pretty pictures. Quinn started with some stats about the current growth and success of the Instagram platform: At the end of 2017, Instagram was at 800 million active users. Growing at 100 million users per four months, Instagram has 500 million daily active users.  300 million of the daily active users are daily active Instagram story users. At the end of November 2017, 25 million businesses were on Instagram 200 million people actively visit a brand’s profile daily. If these numbers aren’t enough to convince you to get an Instagram account for your business and get serious about your strategy, I don’t know what will!   Quinn emphasized the…

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Video Content Strategy for Smart People (IABC Breakout Session Recap)

You may have heard that video is becoming a pretty big deal in digital marketing. Facebook is prioritizing video posts higher than other types of content when their algorithm determines what to show in the News Feed. And in case you didn’t realize the level of its popularity, YouTube has more than one billion users — or one third of the internet. The last breakout session I attended at the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC was presented by Jolean Olson of Scenic Road Products. She shared with us why video is so important to marketing (both internal and external) and how to develop the best strategy for your company to use video. First she covered why video is so important. Employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails or web articles. Video generates 3x as many monthly visitors to a website as other content Visitors spend 88% more time on a website that includes video Organic traffic from search engines increases by 157% with video While it’s great to…

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How Words Get You Found (IABC Summit Breakout Session Recap)

In my first recap of the 2018 Business Communicators Summit for the KC chapter of IABC, I covered the keynote address about demystifying content marketing. So let’s look at this recap of a presentation that demystifies search engine optimization, or SEO. And I’ll be honest, I still find the concept mystifying in a lot of ways, but this breakout session helped me get a better idea of what it means and how to use it. In her presentation, “How Words Get You Found,” Kelly Stanze, search strategist (and self-proclaimed SEO nerd) for Hallmark shared the basics of SEO and how both the content side and the technical side need to work together to provide the best SEO bang for your buck. Kelly describes search engine optimization as the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website. She also made sure to point out that SEO has become more than “just marketing.” It’s about content strategy and technical skills for website development/maintenance. The elements of content strategy involve not only what is on the pages of your website,…

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