It’s Time to Start Animating!

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This week’s intern blog post comes from one of our animation interns, Fiona O’Sullivan. She currently goes to school at Moore College of Art and Design and has been an awesome addition to our team. Here, she dives into the importance of animation and motion graphics. Enjoy!

Fiona

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Video has taken over in the world of social media advertising. Social networks are big fans of video, ranking these kinds of posts higher than non-video posts in their algorithm formulas. Users also like them, so much so, that they spend much more time on pages and accounts that have them than those that do not. In addition to this, people are more open and willing to stop and learn about a product if they are able to watch a video rather than reading a paragraph explaining that same product. Personally, I always scout out videos to explain what I am looking at, rather than consuming a boring description.

Having videos for advertisements on social media platforms is mandatory. A lot of businesses have caught on to this trend and there is a subcategory of video that’s really gaining some momentum: animation. Animated posts and Ads are now becoming more popular for visual storytelling. Using animation in social media advertising is beneficial because it is versatile, it simplifies complex ideas, and if done right, is entertaining.

Animation can be used for anything from longer form explainer videos to infographics and everything in between. Above, our client OWYN uses an animated graphic to showcase new SKU’s and capture user attention on Instagram. Simple, yet very effective especially with some paid social behind it.

Social media Ads don’t typically have a very long runtime, so they need to get the point across quickly. If an Ad is trying to convey a complex idea or explain a product, an animation is a smart way to go. Animated explainer videos can condense and simplify the concept and help guide the viewer to get the point of the creative and message. Animated explainer posts are excellent at streamlining complicated thoughts and showing how a product is used. Of the top 50 explainer videos ranked by HubSpot, Video Brewery, and Switch Video, only 7 are not animated.

If you really spend the time and funds, they can be very entertaining and compelling. They have a graphic and unique look that is memorable and will halt scrolling thumbs in their tracks. Newer, hipper brands such as Spotify, fully understand this and use animation to make their content stand out from the thousands of others on social media, plus they’re super fun to watch. An animation can be much more engaging than a live action video or a talking head explaining a product.

Animation uses graphics, storytelling, and emotion to get its point across in a way that live action video, photo, and text usually cannot. It is much easier to tell a quick story through an animated piece of content than to write it out as text and it can be very difficult to capture the depth of a message via a still photo or graphic.

Most brands don’t have the in-house talent or staff for animation and/or motion graphics so they leave this very important tool out of their marketing mix. This is a mistake and one they should remedy right away. This kind of content will not only help a business explain and market a product, but it will also help to guide consumers to buy that product too. Adding animated content and Ads to the mix will surely boost any marketing program and if you made it to the end of this post, you should know, it’s time to start animating!

 

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Instagram Is The Social Network Of The Moment…

can_you_buy_50_instagram_likes_for_an_affordable_priceOur Fall 2018 Interns have been part of the #SircleSquad for a little over a month now and they’re getting down to business! This semester, we’ll be sharing a blog post by one of our interns, on a topic selected by them.

First up, is Amanda Arevalo of Fordham University!

Amanda Arevalo

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Instagram is the most important social media platform to invest your company’s time in, plain and simple. Facebook and Twitter are important too, but Instagram takes the top seat. While Facebook offers more total reach, Instagram has a higher rate of engagement with users. While Twitter is ideal for small businesses and organizations, Instagram is more useful for storytelling, since there are twice the amount of users on Instagram than on Twitter, and its photo-based layout allows brands to have a more personal connection with followers. Statistically speaking, Instagram has more than 800 million active users- 60% of whom check Instagram daily and 80% of users following at least one business account. Those are compelling numbers, so having a strong following, heavy engagement, and the right micro-influencers are crucial to building your brand’s awareness.

For that reason, Instagram is essential to any business, especially if they are early or growth stage entities. The good news is, this isn’t the hard part. If you follow another brand on your business’s Instagram account and you “like” pictures of that brand’s content, a number of things can happen. First the chances of that brand noticing your brand and following back, perhaps to create a collaboration, increases. Some of their followers coming across your brand’s content and liking it also increases. It takes a lot of work, but it is well worth it. If you then create interesting content that tells a story about your brand instead of making a generic sales pitch, you’ll also have a better chance of increasing and keeping your following. Over time, your brand’s impact and awareness will grow exponentially.

Many think that the role of Instagram is to simply display content that followers will like. While this is true, it shouldn’t be the main and only focus. Many companies dedicate all of their time to creating attractive photos, but they tend to forget the importance of engagement. You can have all the followers in the world, but if you lack that necessary engagement with your followers, then none of the likes or views will even matter. So if you spend the time to convey a message or stir up an emotion and you actually succeed and get a response, do not squander that conversation opportunity by staying radio silent.

So what exactly should engagement look like? The focus here is to create a personality for your brand. Your brand’s personality is then used as a tool to create a dialogue with your followers. People tend to not care about brands that don’t care about them. If many people are asking questions on your photos, and your brand doesn’t answer, then their questions are simply left hanging. That’s one potential customer that you just lost. While one may not seem like a big deal, having at least one unanswered question on almost all of your photos means that you have many ignored users. Over time, the number of people that will not want to buy from or interact with your brand, because they feel uncared for or unheard, can add up.

One of the most powerful tools in your engagement arsenal is the regram. If a very happy customer or fan/follower posts a picture of themselves with your product, then that’s great free marketing right there. Your customer is happy, and they want to show all the other people on their feed. This WOM opportunity is powerful and you can pay them back by posting their image on your account. This could potentially lead to more customers coming your way. Simply liking that picture will show that you are taking into account their opinion of your product, but regramming the picture takes this appreciation a step further. It shows that you’re really taking into account what they have to say, which many followers will genuinely appreciate. Knowing that they’re on your account makes them feel excited and cared for, because in that way you’re saying, “I’m happy that you’re happy,” and who doesn’t like that?

Asking engagement questions is also a surefire way to create a dialogue with your followers. This is especially useful to do with your Instagram Story content, which is another super powerful feature on Instagram. Asking a question, even if it’s as broad as “What’s your favorite Fall drink?” will create a dialogue that’s fun and interesting. Instagram Stories have different features where you can add polls (such as the classic poll and the slider) and a “Questions!” feature (which would also be perfect for an “Ask Me Anything” session). Because of this, users will know your company is active, well rounded, and thoughtful- and not to mention, you’ll be able to learn a little more about the audience that your product attracts most.

With different engagement tactics in the books, you begin to publicly establish a foundation for your product. This is something that potential customers truly like to see. Now the question is, how can you get followers to move down the marketing journey path from awareness to consideration and trial? Something people like to see is that a product is attainable, especially after seeing that someone they admire uses it as well. If let’s say, someone who enjoys makeup, sees their favorite influencer use a high-end makeup product, then they will be more inclined to think, “If they [the influencer] are using that brand, then why can’t I?” The use of an influencer will make your brand seem much more appealing to the average user.

On Instagram, there are a plethora of influencers that like to post great photos on their personal accounts with all types of brands in tow. Finding the right influencer is also the best way to target a niche market for your brand, especially if you’re able to extend your reach. At the same time, you can also diversify your audience, and speak to a new, niche market. If you have been focusing on one targeted audience, then you might be ignoring a whole different group of people that are also actively purchasing similar products. Therefore, you should experiment with different types of micro-influencers and use them as trojan horses into new communities. Searching for different types of influencers will allow for different types of people to buy your products. Like with any sale, it is better to have a warm introduction, than to make a cold call to a new customer!

At the end of the day, Instagram is not a magic tool. It’s only useful if you make it useful through effort. That’s why boosting your awareness, creating appropriate content, engaging heavily with your followers (and/or with anyone who engages with your content), and finding the right people to further represent your brand should all be taken very seriously.  With all of these in motion, you are setting your brand up to win on Instagram.  The people and the awareness are there, and so it is on you to go and find them!

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