Put Product Front and Center With Simple Motion Graphics!

During this global pandemic we find ourselves in, there are more eyeballs on social media than ever before. With “stay at home” orders being the new normal, consumers are inside and are looking to social networks as a form of entertainment to fill their time. It is also very clear, that since they cannot go shopping at stores, they are buying right from their phones and computers more frequently too.

At the moment, many aspects of life are uncertain, but Q2 can be a great time to advance your social media game and take strides toward expanding awareness around your brand. At Sircle, we’re doing this by creating very simple animations that focus on our clients’ packaging and branding. Brands sometimes get too cute with their content and forget to showcase the most important component, their actual product IN PACKAGE.

If you want to create awareness, consideration, and trial then you must be putting brand packaging front and center in your content plan. Even though someone might scroll past your post, your packaging will be the first thing a user sees and remembers, and they’ll be more inclined to purchase in the future when feeling familiar with your brand. In addition, video tends to gain more reach than static-posts, so they pack a bigger punch on both the organic and paid fronts.

Here are some ways we’ve implemented simple animation while focusing on packaging:

  1. Show off brand packaging while also highlighting key ingredients:

For one of our clients, Uplift Food, a line of feel-good probiotic and prebiotic products, animation that highlights ingredients is key. Showing the ingredients in these simple animations is a great way to showcase your product with eye-catching (and scroll stopping) colors and explain the benefits and/or ingredients that set you apart from the rest.

  1. Highlight deals and promos using branding as the focal point:

 

Another one of our clients, Urban Remedy, a line of organic, plant-based meals and drinks, has made use of simple animation for highlighting promotions. In this particular post, they presented a free delivery promo with their branding and products surrounding text. This is a great way to not only tell potential customers what they’re ordering but show them as well!

  1. Use stop motion to draw the viewer’s eye into your packaging:

 

Our client Ithaca Hummus, a line of all-natural hummus, has made great use of simple stop-motion for creating attention around a specific SKU. We focused on the hero ingredient and implied fresh taste with the use of the lemons. This is a key differentiator for this special brand, in a crowded category.  Stop motion is a great way to catch someone’s attention, and draw a user’s eye to the branding.

Now is a great time to get packaging in front of as many people as possible with consumption at an all-time high and CPM’s on paid social at an all-time low.  Using motion graphics is a smart way to get more reach and awareness and also leave a lasting brand impression on consumers and prospects. That is is just smart social media management.

 

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Testimonials = An Effective Win for Q2!

This is a very unique time to be alive, let alone run a marketing and communications strategy for a brand. Though we’re living in uncertain times, studies have shown that social networks have seen increased usage and engagement across the board, as most Americans and bunkered down at home.

Right now, more eyes are on social than ever before and people are doing most of their product discovery online and at home rather than in-store. This means brands really need to hone in on their key marketing messages, including their USPs and their testimonials. Right now, what others say about your brand will be mission-critical in helping facilitate sales. One tactic we’ve found to be very successful of late is using more testimonials in-feed on Instagram. They provide a great vehicle to showcase the usage of a product by real customers and more importantly, to convey their sentiment and experience to new potential prospects.

At Sircle we’re constantly creating new ways to gather and present this content on our clients’ social platforms. Here are some ways we’ve done it:

1. Make testimonials an entry for a self-run giveaway:

         

Recently one of our clients, Ithaca Hummus, created a self-run giveaway using a video testimonial as one of the forms of entry to win a case of hummus along with some branded swag! Our design team then takes quotes from those video testimonials and turns them into eye-catching graphics. This is a great way to get your fans and followers more involved while creating outstanding content at the same time.

2. Create a #TestimonialTuesday in-feed to share customer feedback:

Bare Bones Broth, a line of Keto and paleo-friendly, Non-GMO bone broth, has made use of testimonials by creating a reoccurring #TestimonialTuesday & tagline “What People Are Saying” on their feed. Using bright colors and bold text is a great way to capture attention and to stand out from the clutter when users are scrolling through their feed.

3. Create branded Twitter/Instagram testimonials:

Another one of our clients, Buff Bake, a line of better-for-you protein cookies, plant-based protein bars, and protein powder, has seen solid engagement on branded testimonials from their fans. This is a great way to repurpose positive comments and feedback that already exists on social, by simply adding your logo as a backdrop. It makes for a very simple graphic that can have positive results, from minimum input.

4. Share customer testimonials that include product usage:

This longer-form testimonial posted by our client Truth Nutrition, a line of all-natural, vegan pre-workout, has bright coloring, clearly shows the product, and explains how the product is used. This type of testimonial not only informs your audience but also shares positive customer feedback in the process. It truly paints the picture for your prospects.

 5. Just get out there and ask for positive feedback from your customers:

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We like to practice what we preach and often include our customer testimonials in our own content. It helps humanize the experience AND paints a picture of how it might be when others experience your brand too. Make sure that picture is a positive one!

Q2 of 2020 will be a very interesting time, to say the least, and it is important to connect with customers and fans as much as possible. Not only does it help convert new consumers from consideration to trail, but it also fosters a sense of community when you share their feedback on your channels. These simple pieces of content pack quite a punch.

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Video Creative = Increased Reach and Awareness

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As we’ve seen throughout Instagram’s evolution, videos tend to get more engagement than photos. Why is this? When we’re mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, we expect to see a photo. We don’t take much time to look at a post unless it really catches our attention. That’s why when we see something deviant from the norm (in this case, an eye-catching video), we become interested.

Because of mindless scrolling on social platforms (Instagram especially), it’s more important than ever to create engaging creative to stand out from the clutter and generate awareness. When you combine the power of paid social, with the psychology and creativity of a great video, you put your business into a position to win.

At Sircle Media we believe in the power of innovation and being on the forefront of change. That’s why we sat down with one of our content leads, Zach McAdam, to learn more about his approach to creating effective, eye-catching video ads.

Zach says that because many CPG Brands advertise similar products, it’s important to be bold and try and differentiate from the rest. Because of this, Zach has been experimenting with comedy video ads for one of our clients, @TruthNutrition, a 100% natural, vegan fermented BCAA supplement.

He says that many brands like to show how their product is the solution to a problem, but don’t show the actual problem. In his recent Truth Nutrition video ad, he shows a person (attempting) to run on a treadmill but eventually failing, falling face first. He implies that the reason this occurred was that he forgot to take Truth Nutrition. Not only do ads such as these create interest, but they also add a layer of personality and humor. The icing on the cake – adding a call-to-action for the user to move beyond the ad. If you create a video ad where the consumer is curious about what happens next, they’re more likely to follow through on your call-to-action, thus improving your ROI.

When working with in-feed ads, Zach says that bright and/or uncommon colors are a great way to grab attention. Especially in the crowded CPG space, where there are so many products, you have to think outside of the box and go the extra mile to create interest. You can also do this by really showcasing a brand’s personality, which can draw prospects in a little emotionally to who you are and not just what you sell.

Sircle is also always keeping an eye on new areas to test, especially for those clients who are open both financially and conceptually to experimentation. One potential consideration for a brand like @TruthNutrition, which has a target audience of athletes, is Spotify. Here they can serve as a ‘digital billboard’ for those working out in the gym to one of their favorite playlists. While only 40% of Spotify’s users are premium members, 60% are still interrupted by ads while using the app.

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In a world where paid social is essential (meaning nothing is really that organic anymore) and video outperforms photography, it should be clear why video ads are so important for your business. It is mission-critical to invest in giving your brand the best chance to succeed both on current platforms (i.e. Instagram) and emerging ones (i.e. Spotify, TikTok, etc.).  The good news is, we can help!

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Snapbac + Santia Deck = Influencer Gold.

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As we’ve stated many times before, at Sircle Media, we love to forge partnerships with thoughtful, authentic influencers. Recently one of our clients, Snapbac, (a line of compression-based sportswear that helps you warm up, work out and recover, all in one garment with revolutionary heat and ice therapy pods) partnered up with the incredible Santia Deck, an Olympic USA rugby hopeful and USA flag football athlete. Not only does Santia have a following of 328,000+, but many of them are real athletes who love to engage with her posts. Meaning she has width and depth.

The partnership consisted of some Instagram feed posts and Instagram Stories each month over many months. On Santia’s feed, she went above and beyond the terms of the contract, because she really found value in the product. This is such an important, though often overlooked ingredient to true collaboration with people of influence. Many get paid to promote products they don’t even use, to be honest, and that is just not the real deal. Santia sported their gear organically during her sprinting exercises and rugby workouts because they help her perform at her best, which is the intent of the product in the first place. These posts resonated well with her audience and she was the “featured actress” and Snapbac was just the supporting cast.

She also did a Story takeover and she discussed the benefits of the heat and ice therapy pods as well as why she loves the compression on both the top and bottom part of the body. Before the takeover, she announced that she would be doing so on her own Instagram Story. During the takeover, Santia did not post on her own feed, so it felt like she was genuinely taking over the Snapbac account for the day.

Her takeover offered real content from a fitness maven, explaining exactly how to use our product (=content Gold) and it also provided 2-3X the amount of impression consumption on each Story (in comparison to 200-300 which is the norm). We also had a spike of 100 followers that day along with DMs about our product and pricing (=buying questions!).

Santia Deck has been such an incredible influencer to work with. She is awesome, a real inspiration in fitness and a great partner. Not only did she wear Snapbac’s apparel in posts directed towards the brand, but she also wore the apparel in posts where she was advertising for other brands (=added value).

Working together with influencers that resonate with your brand and understand how to represent the product is what makes the right partnerships so successful. This is why Sircle believes in the power of a fully integrated partnership with real influencers who wield actual influence AND know how to play the game and really collaborate with their brand partners. Just another reason, why @trackbaby001 is a star!

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Stop motion mastery…

Take a peek behind the scenes, with Sircle Media photographers Ilana and Ticha for our client, Real Food From The Ground Up. Sometimes, it takes a team effort to ensure that we stick the landing for our clients. This is our goal every single day!

When shooting stop motion animations, everything has to be taken into account. Changes in lighting, time of day, shadows of people walking by, camera movements and much, much more. You must pay attention to every detail if you want the quality and user experience to be sound.  Tools like wireless remotes to control the camera for you are key, instead of the photographer touching the camera and potentially moving it, even on one single frame, which can be enough to ruin the whole concept.

Our stop motion assets are optimized to show a brand’s product in practical use.  Here we have the client’s packaging in the frame which allows for subtle awareness while being entertained by the fun animations created with the chips. For a relatively new brand, that really wants to push consideration and trial at retail stores, this is exactly the type of approach that makes sense. We also are getting the most out of Instagram’s algorithm by turning a regular photo, into a fun engaging video. Videos perform better and the message is retained more by the viewer.  That’s a win in our books!

 

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We Are Sircle Media

We are Sircle Media. 

We are content creation, community management, and social performance.

We are photography, food styling, stop motion, live action, motion graphics, video production, photo shoots, web design, copywriting, Instagram/Facebook/Twitter Management, E-commerce, customer service, paid social, influencer management, brand collaborations, strategy, analytics, digital marketing and so much more.

We are your next social media management solution…

Let’s Go!

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POV: Motion Graphics

When trying to create content that will tell your brand’s story in a compelling way, you need to have assets that stand out from the clutter. User attention span continues to dwindle, so you don’t have much time to make an impact. It is more important than ever before to be clever, creative and concise with your messaging.

Data shows that video outperforms still imagery, but most brands haven’t figured out how to create video content affordably in house. The main reason is that most are thinking longer form and/or live action video, and both come with a higher cost (financial and opportunity).  While we love live action at Sircle Media, the real gold, when it comes to social content, is in motion graphics.

The format can be fun and simple and can be crafted by someone sitting at a desk, rather than off running around with a camera somewhere.  If you have people on your team that are good at it, as we do here at Sircle, then you can be off to the races. Some of our best content, both from a likeability and data POV, are these types of assets. We find that they make stakeholders happy, whether they are brand (ART) or results (SCIENCE) oriented in nature.

A lot of time is spent on branding and packaging, especially with healthy CPG and beverage brands, which is where we spend most of our time and energy. We think it is only logical to bring some of that art to life. Even if your Art Director prefers real imagery and/or live video, remember that the brand is the most important character in your messaging. Bring that brand to life with motion graphics and thank me later.

 

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What is your brand?

Brand-building

I encourage my team to really think about who they are and what they want the perception of them to be. I find employees are quick to blame circumstance, clients, the company and even me at times, but the real foundation is much more about them than anything else. Even if all of those things are terrible, the one thing that is very much within their control is who they are and how they respond to all of it.

Having a “personal brand” is a hot topic these days and lot’s of people are spending time packaging and developing their own. It just comes down to reputation and shouldn’t have to be contrived. If you are awesome, then just let it be known in how you conduct yourself day to day. If you are less than awesome in areas, then work on developing a better way of approaching things and change your perspective. Brands develop over time and as long as your north star and driving force are positive and pure, you will work it out. So I ask…

What is your personal brand? Are you someone who is generally negative or commits to positivity? Do you miss assignments or are you someone that can always be counted on to stick the landing? Do you build others up or tear them down? Do you find solutions, or point out problems? Do you keep things chill or drum up drama? Are you a leader or do you lean back in times when leadership is most needed?

I encourage everyone to self reflect today, even if only for a few minutes. Most of us don’t fit squarely in any one category, nor do we sit in any one area, 100%. That being said it is good to be honest and open with yourself about your brand and then work on self betterment and improving your brand’s perception.

I personally like to know what I am good at, but more importantly I want to know where I drop the ball and what I can do to improve and go from good to great. As a business owner and leader I try to be clear on what I think an employee’s brand is, but sometimes it is hard to be too honest in the moment. I want to continue to build my team up and set them up to win and don’t want the practice of radical candor to be detrimental to their growth, development or day to day work in the short-term.

So, it is important that they deploy a practice of looking inward, identifying where and how they maybe trip themselves up and then committing to working on that. I have found that stopping, thinking and implementing a little bit each day can go a long way. If you are not getting better, you are probably actually getting worse over time. Control your own destiny a bit more and work on your brand. It is your most important asset!

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Content creation is serious business…

One of the most important components of a successful social media game plan is the ability to create solid content. Brands need to stand out from the clutter and produce assets that are memorable, especially in crowded verticals. It is not enough to just wing it and hope for the best. It is mission critical that you have members of your team who can shoot and edit at a high level to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

There is plenty of photography talent out there these days and we even use some freelancers from time to time to help us capture certain styles or solve for non-studio or even non-NYC shots. I would argue though that you still need to control the aesthetic from a brand-side POV and cannot rely solely on freelancers. Someone needs to be able to edit and modify as needed and have enough social chops to know when to create a video, vs when to post a carousel or even just which individual stills work in specific scenarios.

Not everything needs to be super stylized and overly branded and recent data shows that consumers actually prefer UGC or more “real imagery” instead. That being said, nothing should be lazy or careless. You can/should use UGC and 3rd party content as part of your mix, but a good editor can still create brand side assets made to feel real and authentic. Also, if you think about the end goal and reverse engineer from what you want to have happen, then you can glean more value out of all of your content from your website photos, to influencer collaborations, to photo shoots and everything in between.

As a very important differentiator, I think that having a social media agency mindset with a real understanding of the “what” and “why” makes a big difference when looking to create content that produces results. So unless you are totally content, let’s get to work and make some totally great content!

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Instagram Trends To Watch In Early 2019

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Square_Lexi-02Hi, my name is Lexi and I am new to Sircle Media. This is my first ever blog post at Sircle and I decided to reference this article about marketing trends on Instagram in 2019 that was put out by Socialbakers. We use Instagram all day long for clients and it was helpful to see some data around usage and consumption. I offer some personal and professional insight sprinkled on top of their list of the 5 platform trends that marketers must know. I hope you enjoy.

As a Social Media Manager and an avid Instagram user myself, I feel as though I understand Instagram’s popularity as a social media platform and how it would be a huge miss for brands not to utilize it for marketing purposes. Whether I’m sending memes to my friends or seeing what Kylie Jenner is up to, I spend multiple hours in a single day on Instagram. I am sure that most people reading this are addicted to IG too!

Since launching in 2010, Instagram has evolved tremendously from a photo-sharing site to the powerful marketing channel it is today. I remember using Instagram solely as an editing tool back in 2011 when I wanted to have cool pictures of me and my friends to post on Facebook during our senior year of high school. Boy, have times changed! Since then, Instagram has grown at a rapid pace, with over 1 billion active users to date.

So, what does Instagram’s dominance in the social media sphere mean for marketers? In this blog post, I am going to tackle and discuss the five Instagram trends marketers should know as 2019 unfolds.

First, high customer engagement is super important and you shouldn’t be against using paid social to find those right customers. Because Instagram is a highly visual platform, this particular social network is perfect for getting your proper target engaged AND keeping them absorbed in your content. For me, Glossier does an amazing job at producing content I like to see on my feed, while also successfully selling me on their wide range of beauty products.

According to Instagram Business, 80% of accounts follow a business on the platform and 60% use it to discover new products. In addition, 72% users buy products after seeing them on the platform. With that being said, I feel that in order to move someone down a purchase funnel, your business must be utilizing all of Instagram’s e-commerce features. For example, add a link to your bio to drive visitors to your website, include action buttons such as “shop,” use Instagram Story links and highlights to show off new products, and create shoppable posts for a more seamless shopping experience within the app.

Not only can you leverage e-commerce features on Instagram, but their Instagram Story feature, in general, is key. I believe the ephemeral content craze began with the creation of Snapchat, but once Instagram Stories were rolled out, they clearly became much more popular. Ephemeral content encourages followers to interact with your brand, allows you to increase website traffic, create buzz surrounding a new product launch, and so much more.

Now when it comes to IGTV, I am still just getting my feet wet. For those who don’t know, IGTV is Instagram’s longer-form video hub displayed as a vertical video on an Instagram account. To be honest, sometimes I forget to check out IGTV, but just recently, IG pushed out a new update, where video previews can be published in the main feed. This is a big update and a clear indication that Instagram is focused on continuing to try and get users to adopt IGTV. I already see influencers actively using it for how-to videos and a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. Which brings me to my final Instagram trend to look out for in 2019….Influencer marketing.

According to eMarketer, 78% of influencers consider Instagram to be the best platform for brand collaborations. When well-respected influencers post about brands they are eating, wearing, drinking, you name it, followers are able to easily find and buy the featured items. I cannot even begin to describe the countless number of times I have purchased a product this way. For example, whenever Arielle Charnas posts about the clothes she is wearing, you bet I am going to swipe up and check it out nine times out of ten. Brands should be making sure they find the right influencer(s) that fits their target audience and that their performance metrics are on point. Since I started working at Sircle, I’ve made sure to keep my eyes peeled for influencers who are engaging with the brands that I manage in order to readily turn them into brand ambassadors.

So, to sum things up, Instagram, just like any other social media platform, is constantly evolving and we will see so many new trends in the future. I recommend that you take the time to apply these tactics now and stay on top of the latest trends!  See you on The Gram!

 

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