Stop Motion: If done right, it makes people stop and pay attention!

Dictionary result for stop-motion

noun
  1. a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started, for example, to give animated figures the impression of movement.

We have all seen them. Those clever videos that bring a seemingly still environment to life through a series of photos being married together into one asset. They are a great way to stand out from the clutter and add a deeper narrative than you can get with an individual still photograph.

It is very important to do it with precision though. If you don’t have the creative chops or the patience for that matter, they can come out very sloppy. When that happens it takes a seamless and high-quality asset and it degrades the experience quite a bit. Our recommendation is to keep it very simple, with only a few movements or transitions OR hire an expert like Sircle Media.

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When planning it out it is a good idea to storyboard it first, make a plan of attack and then get to work. Think about spillage, dust, light and even the shadow created by you and your camera. The slightest variation can trip you up and then you need to start all over again. That can lead to a huge time suck OR even quitting and never getting to the finish line.

If you want to talk stop motions, hit us up! We would love to discuss…

 

 

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Food Styling – Sells Product!

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If you want to stand out in the very crowded healthy CPG or beverage categories, it is very important to create high quality and memorable visual content. At Sircle Media, we are big believers in video content, but still photographs can pack quite a punch too.

One of the big differentiators from one brand to the next is the flavor or taste profile and brands need to include some imagery that helps tell that story. Well executed food styling can really make your product stand out and make it crave-able, which can move someone from awareness to trial very quickly. We all want healthy products in our lives and the added bonus is that they taste great too.

Sell that narrative and you will earn more first time users. Follow thru on that promise (meaning the product actually does taste good) and you will have customers for life!

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IGTV – Promotions in the main Instagram feed…

 

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Instagram has stumbled a bit out of the gate with IGTV, but the platform is committed to making this product stick. Not only does it open up a new frontier for creators on the social network, but it steals those same creators and the eyeballs that watch them from YouTube. The added cherry on top is the additional real estate for Ads and the revenue that comes with it. Trust me, they are going to make it work.

They recently rolled out a new feature that allows you to publish your IGTV uploads directly to the feed, where you can tease users back to view the whole video and your channel in the process. They made it super seamless at the time of posting, which will make it easy to adopt for users and is a very smart way to draw attention for sure.

Below you can see how it looks in the Instagram grid as well as the teaser to watch the full video when you click on the actual asset:

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We encourage brands to experiment with this and to use some longer form video content (especially a “hero” video that describes who you are and what you sell) in the process. There are some nuances to consider when doing this and we touch on the topic in a recent episode of our podcast, The Inner Sircle.  Enjoy!

 

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On Social Media Content That Attracts Audiences…

This week’s blog post comes from our intern, Maria Lozano. Maria currently attends Rutgers University and studies Journalism and Media Studies.

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Social media content has the power to be very effective in growing a business. The first step to successfully executing a social media strategy is generating an audience: those who you think fall into your target audience, a unique set of consumers you can draw in, and existing customers who you hope remain loyal to your brand. Unfortunately, growing and sustaining an audience is a difficult task for brands. Not only are you competing with other brands, or bidding for the same consumer, but you’re also trying to make your product stand out. Paying close attention to the content your audience responds to is the key to keeping their attention. After working closely with brands such as Koia and Cake Beauty, I noticed a growing demand for certain types of content, copy and messaging.

When focusing on Instagram, the most popular content is giveaways for both Cake and Koia. In an age where customers turn to media to find new products, giveaways inspire people to make the first move and force an interaction. A giveaway can generate new followers and new eyeballs for your brand for sure.

In a recent Cake Beauty giveaway, the post earned over 1,000 likes and comments overnight. This generated hundreds of additional followers and 5000+ profile views, according to Iconosquare. People love free products and winning. The experience of a contest is worth sharing with friends by tagging them in the comments. This improves the chances of reaching customers beyond your target audience. I follow certain brands because I know they have giveaways every week. Because of that, I will continue to follow and stay updated on their products.

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Koia is another brand that hosts giveaways consistently. Most often, they’ll include a theme, an example of one being “living a healthy lifestyle.” When deciding to collaborate, the brand should seek out like-minded partners who target very similar demos. With Koia, this collaboration with other healthy food products, generated 650+ likes, more than a thousand comments, and an additional hundred followers.  It also generated some really interesting comments to engage with on the partner brand’s feed. Great social media management ammunition for sure!

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Copy is often overlooked, but optimizing it to its full potential could intrigue your audience. It can help convey your personality in a way that is sometimes more impactful than just the asset alone and/or it is definitely the best way to convey USPs.

From measuring the engagement rate from Iconosquare, I noticed that Koia’s Instagram posts that included the benefits of their ingredients received more engagement than any other content. A recent Koia posting included a “Did you know?” type of message with the fact that the turmeric found in the Mango Creme flavor, is a natural detox. These simple fun facts resonate well with Koia’s audience because it reinforces that Koia products can help sustain a healthier lifestyle.

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With all of the content out there these days, customers need more than just the basics. Spending time creating really compelling assets that stand out from the clutter and writing copy that captures their attention and interest is so important. Spending the time to test and learn with new types of content, copy and messaging will help a brand differentiate and catch on faster than those who do not. It is definitely a worthwhile investment!

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Instagram Story Stickers = Free Exposure Hack

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Last week I wrote a post about the necessary ingredients needed to succeed as a healthy CPG (or beverage) brand. One such brand is our awesome client OWYN. They have super smart people running point, are investing the necessary capital and hustle, have a great tasting and healthy product and are all about storytelling.

They are always open to new ideas and hacking ways to stand out from the clutter and get their brand messaging out there in the process. Ahead of a weekend full of events, we went ahead and created a custom branded GIF for Instagram Stories that can be used by them and by any IG user for that matter.  We submitted to Giphy and got it approved and it is now searchable by anybody who is posting a Story.
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Without prodding or planning, we had someone post it within a day of creating the asset. Even better, the person @Jessmair, is a power user, with 57K followers on the platform. We have effectively empowered a true influencer with some ammunition to do the heavy lifting for us. We put in some work and earned some free exposure for the brand.

We call that a win!

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On cutting out the term “blasts” from your email strategy…

In this episode, Chris talks about the term email “blasts” and why all marketers need to remove it from their vocabulary.  Not all prospects or customers are the same and many are in different stages of their relationship with your brand or business of course. Therefore, they shouldn’t be spoken to in the same way.

There are lots of different emails that should be in your rotation. Some emails are promotional (though not every promotion makes sense for your entire audience), some are content laden (such as newsletters or ongoings of the business) and some are behavior based in nature (based on a profile, an action or inaction etc.). Within those categories, there are many different variations and messages that should be used. Think about what you would say to each person receiving the email on a one to one basis and attack accordingly.

Email marketing is such an important part of your digital footprint and one that brands have abandoned or even worse, never really invested in the right way. As things evolve and you want to start controlling your own destiny and margins, it is a must-have part of the equation. Thinking about new ways to tactically communicate with your prospects and customers is very rewarding and even enjoyable. Not a blast though – we are not using that term here! ;)

 

 

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On the ROI of video marketing…

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Measuring Return On Investment (ROI) of your video efforts begins with understanding what the videos set out to accomplish. If you go into the process knowing that video is more likely to be consumed than other forms of content it can change your POV a bit and better shape the conversation.

Video, is a tool that can be used by various departments within a business to help “market” their message. Sales, HR, Customer Service and Marketing all can benefit from the positive attributes of a well-positioned video message to tell their story. Attributing a direct ROI to video and breaking that down by the department can be tricky, making true video ROI a tough one to map out.

Let’s say you have a PowerPoint presentation that your salespeople use in pitches and/or in their email or LinkedIn solicitations for new business, how would video perform instead? Assuming you have a great product, with compelling unique selling propositions (USPs) clearly laid out in this presentation, perhaps a video format would produce higher consumption rates? It is a big commitment to sit and read through a long sales deck, but an animated video that brings the hot buttons to life might be worth 60-90 seconds of the end consumer’s day. If you can increase consumption rates, then you increase your sales conversion potential, which directly impacts the ROI of your sales team’s efforts.

When putting out any social media content, the major platforms (READ: Instagram and Facebook) will reward your video content over still images. So if you are measuring the performance (reach, engagement etc.) of your content, especially your paid efforts, then a video is going to deliver you more for your dollar, also known as a better return on your investment.

From a true marketing standpoint, it is not much different from a traditional marketing campaign. Comscore reports that on average a person watches north of 25 hours of online video a month, so it’s not the matter of trying to prove that online video marketing is effective. The Executives at every business, however, want to know that the marketing dollars are achieving the highest value and ROI while receiving the desired results.

So how do you measure ROI of online video?

  1. Know your objectives.
    The essential component of executing a campaign successfully is having clear goals. The simplest way to measure return on what you’re investing is knowing your target audience and what message you are trying to deliver. Your objectives may vary. For example, if you’re trying to promote product sampling, your objective may be to have individuals register for a coupon on your website after viewing the video. If you want to increase exposure and awareness of your brand or business, you might be simply looking at views to measure the total exposure of the campaign. Dividing cost, by views can give you a cost-per-view metric. Know what you want to see happen before you start.
  2. Social = Sharing = Exposure.
    Remember, ROI doesn’t necessarily have to equal a dollar figure. It can be social interactions, shares, conversations around your brand and recommendations by your brand ambassadors. If your video is getting shared by your target demographic and this audience is recommending your video to their friends, the reach and engagement are just as valuable as a dollar figure. Make sure you give them the opportunity to easily share your video!
  3. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
    Measuring online video ROI isn’t always an exact science and with a non-traditional platform, you have room to come up with creative and different ways to validate your efforts.  Online video can often drive traffic back to your website and one way is to look at what that traffic would have cost if it had been acquired by a push advertisement.

For example, comparing a pay per click model and the received traffic you can use the following:
Running ads on a website with $3 per click which results in 300 unique visitors to your website. This traffic of 300 people to your website is then worth $900. Although this approach offers an easy dollar figure, it’s crucial to note that the difference in pay per click banner ad traffic and organic post video engagement differs greatly and the value through organic engagement is much higher.

Online video enhances and creates the most engaging online user experiences. When it comes to ROI, the measurement metrics differ greatly depending on the specific goals. Success lies in the ability to target a specific audience based on demographic, geographic and contextual parameters. Being able to speak the language of your target audience and deliver a strategic message in a simplified format is a sure fire way to increase business. So grab your camera, and let’s do this…

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On Instagram Stories data…

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Instagram stories have been adopted by more than 300 million daily users and there have been a number of recent integrations with Facebook, that have made the reach and exposure that much more compelling. I have talked about our POV on stories before and the data just continues to prove out that stories are a place to be if you want to market where people are paying attention.

I recently read Delmondo’s Instagram story analytics report, that reviewed more than 800 active Instagram accounts and there were some key findings.  I pulled them out and highlighted them below along with my quick take:

- User consumption is high and brands are (tentatively) making grabs for their attention- Of the 800, only 16% had posted a story within the last 30 days. 

16% is low, which means many brands are not taking advantage of this medium.  So if you are a marketer at a brand, you should be paying attention and capitalizing where others arent!

- Influencers are right At home- A key performance metric of interest during the analysis was completion rate. Who watched a story from start to finish? Influencers are in the lead for completion rate, given that high post performance is part of the criteria in needed to be an influencer. 

Influencers are leading the charge and seeing excellent consumption rates. When working with an influencer, stories are great and perhaps should be the first choice!

- Keep your storyboard tight- There is a strong correlation between story length and completion rate, with a downward trend synced with an increase in the number of posts per story. 

Think about your message flow and don’t just go on a posting spree. Also, consider front-loading more important brand messages in a storm or collection of stories.

- Leverage early afternoon and late evening key posting times- This is when completion rate was at over 70%.

Be thoughtful about when you post to maximize consumption potential of your content!

Instagram stories have got to be in your marketing mix if you are looking to broadcast messages on social.  If you sit on the sidelines, then the story about you, will be that you blew it. ;)

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Be our guest, be our guest!

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Instagram took another shot at their competitors last week, with the rollout of being able to add a guest to your Instagram Live broadcast. Live streaming is a major frontier and the ability to do so with a partner is very intriguing for both people and brands alike.

You can read about the product and watch the video put out by Instagram to visually showcase the concept here.  What we like about it, is that it is super simple to execute and gives users another reason to stay and tinker around in an ecosystem they already know, rather than getting bored and poking around elsewhere. Instagram has proven to be a master of that move.

From a brand POV, you can strike up a dialogue with a fan/customer OR bring in an expert to hammer home a USP of your product or service. i.e.

Have a healthy CPG product? Bring in a dietician to discuss the positive attributes of the ingredients in a conversation with you.

Are you an apparel brand? Bring in a designer to discuss the cut, fit or general reasoning behind a design to help educate a consumer through some back and forth with your marketing team.

Working with an influencer? Perhaps bring in two at once, to offer their perspectives on a “shared with” broadcast and get a dialogue going rather than just a monologue promoting your product. A conversation brings much more depth to that positioning and was a big reason for Twitter Party success back in the day (and still we would argue)!

Users in all age brackets are spending more time on Instagram than Snapchat these days and 25% of that time is spent “above the feed” in Stories and Live broadcasts. Social networks are a competitive landscape, so it is important to experiment and to try and be an early adopter of new tools such as this. If you are a brand looking to market your wares, then you need to join the fray!

 

 

 

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On understanding digital, for your business…

Almost every single meeting I go to these days, involves a conversation around brands wanting to grow their own e-commerce, so they have more margin control and customer data that is truly their’s, rather than a partner like Amazon’s. The problem is that most founders, brand managers and even CMO’s lack the digital chops to get it done. That is not an insult, just an observation from the field.

Truth is there are plenty of great branders and marketers out there who never had to learn digital, especially this current landscape we live in. Nowadays many are just a bit outside of their comfort zone. As a result, they either try silo’d tactics with shiny platforms like Curalate, HubSpot, Mixpanel, Bounce Exchange etc., that ultimately fail because they are not part of a bigger, more strategic plan OR just sit on the sidelines and don’t actually do what they know deep down needs to be done.

We created a product called The Digital Deep Dive a couple of years back to help brands change that trajectory and get a handle on their digital footprint. With each passing month the need gets stronger and the ecosystem becomes more diverse and difficult to navigate. You must be looking under the hood to assess if you are doing things the right way and that you are setup to win. It is not a complex concept and the impact is a powerful and meaningful one for any online business.

Ready to get serious about content, analytics, email, marketing and conversions?  Just DIVE in!

 

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