Don’t Overlook The Power of a Self-Run Giveaway!

Social media is a vehicle to engage in conversations with customers and prospects. There are a number of different ways for brands to strike up a dialogue and some are more simple than others. One low input/high upside tactic is deploying giveaways.

The most common kinds are multi-brand giveaways with two or more brands pairing together to combine their audiences for optimal reach and awareness, as well as vanity metrics such as follows and likes on a post. While this giveaway tactic is a proven winner, it isn’t the only way to go about it. If you have a full strategy in place, including paid social, targeting and solid prizes, a self-run giveaway can be highly effective too.

One of our clients, @lovegracejuice, a line of gourmet and GMO-free juices, smoothies, and elixirs ran four different self-run giveaways throughout the month of January. The prize was a cleanse package, which comes with a significant price tag and therefore more of a CTA than most.  As you know, January is a time of healthy resolutions, many of which don’t always stick. To appeal to Love Grace’s target audience of health-conscious individuals, we ran a juice-cleanse giveaway each week to keep that motivation up throughout the month! This giveaway resonated extremely well with our target sets and earned an average of 300+ comments per post.

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The client also wanted to start harvesting more emails for ongoing marketing purposes. To that end, we made it that the cost of entry was to enter an email on a separate landing page. We earned over 1,000 link clicks to the Love Grace landing page and a ton of new emails. On top of that, it generated a retargeting audience of website visitors and a lookalike audience of that group too, that we can now market to in the future,

To ensure delivery of a promotion like this, you need to invest dollars into Facebook and Instagram Ads. The intent of these should be link clicks (drive traffic to the landing page) and not just awareness (impressions). An ancillary benefit of boosting this giveaway was an uptick in actual web sales for January.  Who doesn’t like revenue? ;)

You need to take action to produce action. A well thought out self-run giveaway is entirely in your control and the awareness is all about you and your brand, with no Costar. It only makes sense though, if you know what success looks like upfront and then put all of the pieces in place to maximize that result.

Once you find a winner, double down and run it back!

 

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Meet Sircle’s Newest Content Creator, Kourtney!

Here at Sircle we love to improve our team by expanding and bringing on new talent! We recently sat down with our newest hire, Kourtney Mack to learn a bit more about her. While interviewing, her drive, creativity, and positive spirit really stood out and we knew right away that she would be the perfect addition to the squad. Without further ado, let’s meet her!

Full Name: Kourtney Mack

Current Position at Sircle: Content Creator

Winter or Summer?: Can’t beat summer, especially in NYC.

What was your journey to finding Sircle Media?: I was working as a studio product photographer in e-commerce for about three and a half years and I was looking to branch out and grow in my career. I knew that I would love to incorporate more food and people into the product work that I was doing. When researching Sircle Media, I saw that they worked with a lot of food and beverage companies which was exactly what I was hoping for! Everything seemed to align after talking with Adam and Sara. I am very happy to be on such a creative team and look forward to the work that I get to create.

What has been your impression of Sircle so far?: My first impression of Sircle is that it is a very fast-paced, well-oiled machine. Some other words are: smart, down-to-earth, scrappy, kind and motivating.

What can you say about your co-workers?: Everyone is very close-knit and it truly feels like a family and/or genuine friends that I get to work with.

What can you say about Adam?: Adam is very inspiring and passionate, thoughtful and considerate. I love the company culture that he has created at Sircle Media. It’s been a joy so far.

What are you most looking forward to at Sircle?: I look forward to really honing different styles as a photographer and becoming more confident in my role.

How do you think Sircle Media stands out from other agencies?: Sircle Media gets right down to business. Once we sign a client, we make it our mission to service them and their needs right away and we look to produce solid results as quickly as possible.

What is your favorite activity/thing to do outside of work?: When it comes down to it, I really love connecting with people which can take on many forms. I love activities such as going out to eat at a new restaurant, board game nights, and book clubs, just to name a few. One hobby that I have is salsa dancing and have been taking lessons recently. I love trying to get better at something just for the sake of improvement.

Kourtney sure does bring great energy to our team and we look forward to watching her career blossom at the agency. Keep an eye out for some of her excellent work!

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Instagram Saves and All The Rage!

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Social networks are never static and always changing. Adjustments are constantly being to create a more impactful and user-friendly platform and if you are a professional in the space, you need to be fast and adjust with the times swiftly. In recent months Instagram has been testing out hiding likes as a way to improve the experience and devalue a vanity metric, which they found was having a negative influence on people.

We are big believers that like and follower counts are irrelevant, especially in a paid social-first environment, so this is a welcomed change. We care more about the consumption of content than how many people follow you, many of whom don’t see your posts in a nearly zero organic reach world. With the hiding of likes, one success metric a brand or business can hang their hat on is how many saves a post receives. Instagram saves are a part of the Instagram algorithm, meaning that the more saves a post receives, the more people will see it in their feed. Also, those users who already saved a post, are more likely to see that content more than 1X, which is great from an “awareness and consideration” POV.

As we started to see the positive impact of saves, we began shifting our tactics for clients right away. One early winner is creating a requirement to save a post in order to enter a brand giveaway! Most giveaways have rules to enter, one of them usually being “like this post”. We would argue that a save goes a bit deeper, as it is still one click, but it also curates that post for potential future consumption.

Recently, in order to rack up those saves, one of our clients, Bare Bones Broth, a line of all organic Bone Broth soups and collagen, participated in a multi-brand giveaway with three other brands, making the cost of entry to save or “bookmark” the post! The giveaway was Whole30 themed in order to help users get a jump start on the January Whole30 diet. We capitalized on a very popular trend (dieting or “cleaning up” to start the year) and found great partners to align with, which in turn helped us increase and improve the value of the prize for the winners. See below:

The results exceeded our expectations! The giveaway received 938 comments,10,415 impressions, 755 likes (yes, those are still in effect) and over 150 saves. That last metric is key as this is an excellent algorithm builder and because this group is very niche, it is highly likely that they will go back and reference the saved asset, as they think about maintaining their diet throughout the year and want to recall some of these awesome Whole30 approved brands.

With social media, you must be paying attention to platform moves, making informed decisions on how to adjust & react and then always be testing. SAVE this post as a reminder! ;)

 

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Welcome to the Sircle Squad, Wyatt!

Recently, we sat down to get to know one of our newest hires, Wyatt Davis! We were connected with Wyatt through another Sircle Media employee and immediately saw a perfect fit. We know that her creativity, drive, and positivity will be a huge contributor to our future success! Without further ado, let’s meet her!

Full Name/Nickname: Wyatt Davis. Some people call me “Wy” or “Wyty”!

Current Position: Social Media Manager

Beach or Mountains?: This is SO tough, I love a balance of both but I’d probably have to say the beach.

What was your journey to finding Sircle Media?: It’s a funny story actually. I was job hunting after working in Paid Social for 3 years and had worked with Lexi Levy (a current Sircle employee) on an account and we stayed in touch. She mentioned Sircle and talked about how much she loves it, and I personally don’t know anyone who even likes their job, so I knew she was on to something. After my first interview, I was sold.

What was your reason for choosing a Social agency?: The main reason I wanted to come to a company like Sircle was to do something more creative within the social media realm after being in paid social for 3 years and having a brief stint on our creative team there. Working with Lexi in the past was a huge help!

What has been your impression of Sircle so far?: Scrappy, creative, smart, innovative, fast-acting, driven, organized, and caring are the words that come to mind.

What can you tell us about Adam?: He’s a big part of the reason that I chose to work at Sircle. He’s incredibly intelligent and cares so much about the company and his employees which means a lot to me. He’s fostered a great community with the team and our clients.

What can you tell us about your team?: Beyond cool and friendly. I’m 4 weeks into the job and I couldn’t feel more welcomed. Everyone is really diverse but comes together in a great way.

How do you think Sircle Media stands out from other agencies?: In so many ways. There’s consistent support, you’re not worked to the bone, morale is high, company culture is great, the content we create is beautiful and professional and done by a small team. Adam is our main salesperson, and we’re able to be picky about who our clients are.

What is your favorite activity to do outside of work?: I would have to say it is finding new restaurants. I’m a huge foodie and living in NYC is a foodie’s dream. I also love seeing live music and bingeing true crime shows.

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What’s cooking, with Bare Bones Broth X @Sweatsandthecity?

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Creating meaningful relationships with influencers is more important now than ever before. 2019 was the year that saw Instagram become too over-saturated with “one and done” influencer partners, trying to promote different products seemingly on a daily basis. That’s why as a social agency, we seek out long-term, authentic relationships with influencers who give honest feedback about their favorite products and can be a true partner and collaborator. These are much more valuable than an influencer who poses once with your product in hand, but never really becomes a customer or a fan. 2020 should be all about depth!

Recently one of our clients, Bare Bones Broth, an organic line of high-protein, Keto-friendly Bone Broth teamed up with fitness & wellness experts, Elizabeth and Dale of @sweatsandthecity for a three-month partnership. Their first in-feed post included an extremely thoughtful caption by Dale explaining the four ways she loves to enjoy the product. Elizabeth and Dale are the perfect partners for this brand because they talk about all things wellness, fitness, beauty, and food-related and have a large and engaged audience base. Their fans have diverse interests and this client wants to cast a wider net than just strictly speaking to super healthy eaters, making this a perfect pairing.

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When creating long-lasting, meaningful relationships with influencer partners, it’s important to show the authenticity of that relationship to your fans and followers in more ways than an Instagram post. We suggest that brands think outside of the box and look for creative ways to bring value to their audience. To that end, as part of this partnership, we had them create a blog post that we felt would better explain the product and the relationship. This is an excellent format to answer potential questions and is good fodder that can be used as part of the content marketing and sales journey on the brand’s domain.

Here we allowed our fan base to learn more about who we’ve chosen as a partner and why they’re such a great fit. To show this, we conducted a Q+A with Elizabeth and Dale found here! They answered a bunch of great questions and even highlighted their own personal, favorite products:

What are each of your favorite products from Bare Bones?

We are both huge fans of the Organic Chicken Bone Broth and Rosemary & Lemon. They have so much flavor!

 

 

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Brand Authenticity is Key: Incorporate Your Founder

It’s true that in the world of social media, we’re surrounded by perfectly curated photos, filters, and the ability to “fake it.” It’s easier now than ever before, to be something you’re not, but it is very hard to fake a true founder’s story. Lean into that.

At Sircle Media we believe brands should be vulnerable and display true transparency on social networks. Social media affords customers an opportunity to speak directly with their favorite companies and it also allows brands to tell their story in an honest way. While planning and curating are still highly recommended, there is something special about the opportunity to get into a dialogue with a driven and passionate founder. Not only does it feel more real and connected, but in today’s Shark Tank inspired culture, people love the idea of the Entrepreneur’s journey, especially from a confident and awesome woman!

If the founder has a personal story about why they created their brand, this creates a sense of trust and personality. Even better, if they are an expert in their field, this will establish and convey competence and authority. It is one thing to think “your baby is the cutest” but another to back it up with data and experience.

The strategies you use to include your founder are just as important. For one of our clients, Uplift Food, a line of prebiotic gut-healthy foods to support your mood, we actively involve their founder, Kara Landau. Kara has a very personal story as to why she started her brand. In an Uplift Food Instagram post, she explains how she created her brand after she moved from Australia to America following the end of a long term relationship. She found herself heartbroken and emotionally distraught. As a student of nutrition, she set out on a quest to discover the relationship between food and happiness.

Since Kara is also a Registered Dietitian, creating content around her only reaffirms her expertise in the nutrition field and the quality of her products. Not only does Uplift Food include Kara in their posts, but they also have a highlight called “Kara’s Corner”, where she shares recipes, events, and benefits of the Daily Uplifter. Kara’s personal Instagram handle (@theprebioticdietician) is also featured in Uplift Food’s Instagram bio, so users can explore her account and get a taste of her personal life.

            

We love working with Kara because she is knowledgeable, positive, and always ready to brainstorm new ideas! Audiences love getting insider information from Kara because it makes them feel like they are part of a community and her journey. When you have an inspiring founder, with a compelling story, you should really double down on it.  Remember, that people want to buy from people they know and trust and most of us want to feel inspired. Let them inside and develop a community of loyalists!

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Happy 5 Year Anniversary, Jenna!

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This week, our senior photographer Jenna Ruocco celebrates her 5 year anniversary with Sircle Media. This is an important milestone, especially for someone working at their first job straight out of college. We sat down with her to ask some questions and get her POV after a half-decade working full-time on the squad. Enjoy.

How did your journey with Sircle Media begin?

My journey here began back in December 2013, as an intern during my senior year of college. CRAZY!!! Two of my sorority sisters worked for Sircle and they had asked if I wanted to start an internship. I said yes with no hesitation and started as a remote intern. Adam later asked if I wanted to continue interning post-grad, and of course, I said yes as I truly loved what I was doing and wanted to continue to be a part of it!  I continued to intern for a few months in the office, then started working part-time for a short stint and eventually moved up to full-time on January 5th, 2015. The rest is history!

What have been some of your biggest milestones while working at Sircle?

In college, I was a dual concentration in Graphic Design and Photography.  Early on though, there wasn’t much need for a photographer at Sircle because it was much more about graphics. As a result, I began here as a Graphic Design intern and never really touched a camera. So I would say my biggest milestone, was when we moved to more reliance on taking photos and I became the first photographer for the agency. Fast forward and now we have developed a department that is one of the agency’s biggest strengths. We have grown tremendously since our early days when I used to shoot simple product shots at my desk or around NYC. Nowadays, we have a full studio, on-site photoshoots, and three more photographers working alongside me. Working my way up from intern, to part-time, to full-time and now finally to Senior Photographer, has been a series of great milestones for me.

How have you seen your skills progress over your time here?

Coming in, I was very much an abstract/film photo photographer, but at Sircle, it is mostly product photography, food/spirit photography and model/lifestyle photography. Product photography is very different than anything I had done in college or even in my free time. I had to jump right in and learn quickly and I am constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of the many clients Sircle services. We are always shooting something new so it keeps things very interesting! 

How has the company changed for the better in your 5 years?

Sircle has grown tremendously since I first started back in 2013. What was just 5 employees back then, has ballooned to 19, across multiple departments and our client list is ever-growing! I have seen quite a bit of change over the years. From coworkers to clients, to office space AND I have to say that where we are right now, is the best and strongest Sircle has ever been. I am proud to be a part of it and pumped about all that is on the horizon.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from working with Adam?

It’s hard to narrow down the biggest lesson as I am always learning from him. This may sound cliche, but I would say Adam has taught me how to be the best employee/coworker I can be. He is always guiding us and making sure we are always putting forth our best selves with our coworkers and with our clients. We are truly a family here at Sircle and that is made possible through the foundation Adam has built and the values he instills in us each and every day.

What has been your favorite product or client to work with and why?

I would say Michter’s Whiskey has been my favorite client for sure. It’s the account I have worked on the longest and was one of the first spirit brands I’ve ever photographed. I have developed a very strong relationship with them over the years and I have even been down to Kentucky to shoot at their distillery, which was awesome. They are an amazing brand and I love helping them tell their story.

What do you look forward to in the future at Sircle Media?

There are SO many things I am looking forward to. Mainly, our ever-growing team and new coworkers I get to crush life with every day. I am excited to continue to meet and shoot for new clients and products and further develop my skills. This year I am focused on expanding my management skills and growing my department, so that should be a rewarding challenge.

I’m excited to watch this company continue to grow and to know that am such an integral part of that progress. I’m so grateful to be a part of an amazing team and company!

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OMG! – Magnesium is magnificent!

When launching with a new client at Sircle Media, we make sure to focus our efforts on developing a strong foundation for success. When a brand starts out with little to no social media presence, it’s important to be very strategic in your efforts early on. This might include promoting e-commerce, partnering with large brands for giveaways, or striking up relationships with genuine, like-minded influencers.

One thing we see, especially in the CPG space, is that many influencers love to promote products that support a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you have a great product, that solves a real need, many influencers are willing to present it to their followers because they truly believe in it. This is gold for a brand that is truly functional and provides real benefits.

Recently we launched with OMG! Nutrition, a line of on-the-go, easy to mix vegan magnesium packets that help with a multitude of health concerns, such as stress, restless sleep, heart health, digestive concerns, immunity, bone support, nighttime cramps, and even muscle relaxation. OMG! Nutrition is also NSF Verified, meaning that their claims have been vetted by a third party. This is mission-critical with this type of product.

With supplements, it was very important we reached out to those who could speak on the validity of the product. We made sure we partnered with registered dietitians who have studied the benefits and uses of magnesium. Since it also helps with workout recovery, we wanted to partner with an influencer who could show the use of the product in their everyday life.

We eventually came across the perfect fit with @happystronghealthy.rd! Jenna is a well-respected dietitian with an online coaching business. She was the ideal influencer for this collaboration because she has the authority and qualifications to speak about OMG! Nutrition. Our partnership with Jenna started with an in-feed post using their Berry Blast product.

Her results were solid! Jenna is considered a micro-influencer because she has a smaller following, but we have found that most tend to get more engagement on their posts because they are truly connected with their audience. Jenna received 43 comments and 33 website link clicks on her first post, which is impressive.

She posted a very descriptive, well thought out caption speaking to the benefits, uses, and quality of the product and because Jenna is a dietitian, many of her followers are also dietitians, nutritionists, or those looking to improve their health. As a result, many in the health field commented on the post saying they also wanted to try OMG! Nutrition which only reinforces the value of the product to outsiders looking in the comments section.

      

Jenna was a pleasure to work with not only because she was the perfect fit for this collaboration, but because she went above and beyond to promote the product. Since her audience was our ideal target market, her followers truly appreciated her sharing OMG! Nutrition and we found some solid conversations to engage with while doing our follow up community management.

This really did provide much more depth than width, which we would argue is a better play for a product like this.  We plan to sircle back and double down on this strategy.  Stay tuned…

 

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Nowadays, Giveaways are a smart way to hack exposure!

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With Q1 2020 quickly approaching, it’s essential to take inventory of your social media strategy from 2019 and adjust where necessary. Here at Sircle Media, we’re always staying on top of social media trends and making awareness, consideration, and trial the top priorities for our clients.

In 2019, giveaways were a surefire way to help increase followers and awareness among niche audiences, especially when collaborating with multiple brands.  If you strictly want eyeballs on your packaging and/or some usage cases, then side by side collaborations with likeminded brands remain a smart, and low-cost play.  The rub though with some of these collaborations is that users will often only follow the brands involved in order to receive a prize, rather than turn into a true fan of the product. This leads to a drop in followers after the giveaway has closed.

I would argue that this is ok and a byproduct of the strategy, as long as you got views on your solid content showcasing your product. BONUS: you picked a winner that is likely someone from your core target demo and you got the product into their home. If the product is good, repeat trial is likely. Also, all of the losers give your social media manager some targets to strike up a dialogue with and see if he/she can convert them with community management and/or surprise and delight tactics, such as delivery of coupons/discount codes, etc.

In 2020, take your giveaway strategy a bit deeper, by running some self underwritten promotions with larger prizes AND even include a CTA to one of your primary sales channels. To that end, recently, one of our clients, Energice, a line of vitamin-infused frozen hydration pops, held a giveaway where the prompt was to follow the Energice account for a chance to win a “40 Energice variety pack” and a $50 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card.

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Energice is an attractive product for professional athletes and active individuals in general. Their pops have an isotonic formula of electrolytes, B vitamins, and potassium for peak performance. Energice is sold through their website, Amazon, and at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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The Dick’s Sporting Goods $50 gift card was the ideal add on prize for this giveaway, considering it is:

1. The retailer at which the product is sold, and we created awareness around the partnership.

2. A relationship we really want to protect and grow.

2. Where Energice’s core target audience loves to shop and gives them a prize they can cash in on, above and beyond our client’s product.

All of the above made the giveaway extremely attractive to the exact target audience they wanted to speak with.

Rather than boosting this giveaway through The Facebook Ads Manager which we traditionally use, we boosted it through the Instagram App which has the button “View Profile”, making it even easier for Instagram users to find the Energice page. It also helps pad vanity metrics a bit, in the feed which helps incentivize others to join in.

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The results of this giveaway were favorable for the brand. First off, Energice received 400 new followers (not my most important KPI, but one the brand cares about nonetheless), and we only targeted new eyeballs, which means these are new prospects for the brand.  While they clearly didn’t follow the full instructions (the first ask was to LIKE the post and only 95 people did) it still earned a nice amount of impressions and significant comments. It also was a great advertisement for our shelf space at Dick’s and is a solid show of partnership for their salespeople to share with the buyer.

In 2020 it is important to get a little more creative with these exposure hacks, especially as Facebook and Instagram Ads will start to increase in price as the Presidential election draws near. Id recommend everybody consider, multi-brand, dual-brand, self-run, influencer supported and some retailer focused collaborations in the first quarter. Get out there and make it happen!

 

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Sircle Squad Intern: Claire

Name: Claire Anzalone

Hometown: I hail from the land of Austin, Texas.

University and Major: I attended Austin Community College to major in 2D animation!

Year: I graduated in spring 2019.

Favorite Movie/Book: My Favorite Movie is currently Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I love the combination of 3D and 2D animation in this movie, and the uniqueness it creates.

Beach or Forest?: I would choose the Forest. I love the scenery and all the different animals that you can find!

Why Sircle Media?: I chose Sircle Media because I thought it would be great experience to learn how motion graphics are done for social media.

What is one social media skill or topic you’ve been working on during your internship?: Creating entertaining and informing videos for Instagram posts.

What is one skill or topic you hope to learn more about?: I’d love to learn more about effects on After Effects, and the possibilities they offer.

Favorite client to work on?: Currently, my favorite client to work on is Rethink. I love drawing and coloring their characters and animating their products.

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