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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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!

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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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On the importance of a website, even without E-commerce…

On this episode, we talk about the importance of a website even if E-commerce is not your main focus. Some brands punt the website experience or seriously under-invest in it if they aren’t selling product there. This is a mistake and it compromises your social media efforts and limits your ability for exposure and conversions on Amazon and/or at retail partners.

You need to invest more time and effort into your web experience and create some deeper connections with customers and prospects. You can set up retargeting, couponing and/or email captures all of which have value regardless of where you transact. You can also set up your future E-commerce aspirations by spending time harvesting interest and engagement on your non-sales oriented website now.

Don’t sleep on it!

 

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Why Are Your Website Revenues Not Higher?

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Why are your website revenues not higher you ask?  For many brands, it might not be a traffic issue, but rather a conversion problem. So many companies think you can create a website with a “set it and forget it” mentality, but that just isn’t true. If you want to make money via your website (who doesn’t right?) then you need to be listening and paying attention to how people navigate your site. Furthermore, you need to be prepared to take action when you see something that is clearly not working. This practice is referred to as conversion optimization, and you should be in the game.

We have talked about the need for Google Analytics and custom dashboards here on this blog and the next question should be, then what?  If you are tracking behaviors like bounce rate, duration and page flow, then you will start to see areas that need fixing. There will be negative, actionable information like: Why do so many people go to this category page and leave right away?  Why do they get to the cart and abandon so frequently?  And conversely there will be positives such as: Why do people spend 3+ minutes on this page and why did this particular blog post garner so many views?  If you start asking these questions and diving into the pages, you will find opportunities to remedy and/or double down on the good. You must be doing this on a monthly basis.

Imagery, copy, colors, positioning and clear calls to action, are just some of the things you need to consider as you mold your site to be a better engine for business.  Having a partner to help you both strategize and implement the changes is very important.  Most brands don’t have someone on staff to make the calls and even fewer have a solid webmaster relationship in place to make updates in a cost (financial and opportunity) efficient manner.  As such, they often just don’t do anything, and that is a huge mistake.

Website revenue is a game changer for a business in any vertical, because the margins are typically higher AND you have a one-to-one relationship with the buyer. This should lead to increased frequency of purchases and a greater life time value from that user if you are doing things right. So the question isn’t why aren’t your revenues higher, the question should be – are you doing anything about it?

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Video Content- The Story Behind ginnybakes

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We are constantly creating content that helps our clients tell their story in a unique and interesting way. Social media is all about distributing content that you hope will resonate with your current fans and followers or serve up intrigue to new prospects.

Here we worked with Ginny Simon and her brand ginnybakes to help position the story of who she is and how she got started with her awesome brand of delicious baked goods.  Not only is it visually pleasing, but it also packs a real information punch too.  Video is a mission critical component of any social strategy and this piece, posted on Facebook natively had 5X the amount of organic reach of any normal text or photo post. Content like this is therefore not just informative, but it also makes for good social strategy.
= WIN
Click the image above or click here and give it a watch.

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Sircle Media- Mobile Tour Design For Ginnybakes

Screen shot 2015-05-12 at 10.01.14 AMWe are always “all in” with our clients and willing to do what is ever needed to help them win online.  Sometimes we also get involved in the offline world to help them get more social with their branding and collateral materials.  Recently our client Ginnybakes asked us to create a design for a van for the company’s Summer 2015 multi-state sampling tour.

Our Art Director, Carlos Palacios took the lead on this project and handled everything from ideation to production.  When it came to creating the design, Carlos said he knew that he wanted to make sure the final product was unique, but still fit the vision of the client and appealed to the target audience. The client had a “colorful 60’s theme” in mind, so Carlos took that and ran with it.

“Both the client and I agreed that pink should be the base color as that would stand out the most, but [pink] would also be a great launch into that 60’s theme,” he said.  At the end of the day, his main focus was making sure he could create an attractive and recognizable design that would help create better brand awareness for Ginnybakes.

Below are some visuals that showcase the various POV’s we created for the vehicle

Sircle-Post-ginnyVan-02We then brought the tour to life on their website with a map that we designed and coded so they could showcase their map and tour dates.  Check it out here: Ginnybakes Tour Map.  Stay tuned for other great design projects coming soon.

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Hyperlapse: What’s The Hype?

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Due to the massive trend of photo-focused standalone apps, Instagram decided to release their version in order to start another social media buzz. Instagram’s latest app, which is called Hyperlapse, is simple, elegant and extremely useful.

The app, which was released last week, allows users to quickly and easily create on-the-go-time-lapse videos, something that has not been effectively accomplished on mobile devices, until now. Members of Instagram released a statement saying, “we designed Hyperlapse to be as simple as possible.”

But wait, how easy are we talking about?

Well, it has only been a week, and so far based on reviews it seems that they accomplished the goal of making it user friendly. So here is how you use the app; record a video, select a playback speed, save and share. No additional editing, tweaking or user account required. Yeah, it really is that easy!

So do you have a passion for making cool videos and sharing them with your friends, but you are not a professional photographer? Well you are in luck, because regardless of how long or expertly-crafted your videos are, having a super simple app like Hyperlapse is a game changer for amateurs.

If you would like to read more about Hyperlapse, and a detailed breakdown of the features click here.

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Facebook Changes to Know: A Little Goes A Long Way

 

Facebook changes constantly, sometimes in a big way, sometimes in a small way. Or in this case, the small ways are big! Understanding Facebook and how to use these changes to your advantage can help in your business and save you a lot of time. Here are 10 changes to Facebook you may not have noticed:

1. Photos

Photos now have a new size – bigger and better than ever before. Photos are 25% percent bigger in the new one column format. Facebook photos squares are now 504 x 504 – a size to take advantage of!

2. Tabs

Facebook tabs are still there, but different than before – where before Facebook tabs were displayed as images, now there is a text link to your first tab and a drop down menu to view the rest

3. Left Menu

Left menu sections are now moveable! Everything that is not a page post is now in the left side bar – you can easily move these sections by clicking manage sections with the pencil icon and dragging wherever you wish.

4. Activity Tab

The activity tab now is home to messages and notifications – you can view, respond, and manage messages on your page from the tab.

5. Facebook “Use As” Option

The Facebook “Use as Page” Option has moved – to find it, you must click the drop down arrow at the top right of your Facebook page. From there, click “Facebook Use As” and select the page you would like to use.

6. Website Links

The “About” section of your Facebook automatically displays the URL link to your Facebook page – a link that you had to use hacks to retrieve before, is now easily accessible right on your Facebook!

7. Reviews

If you have a local business page, your reviews will now be easier to find and read. Located right under the profile image at the top left of the page, simply scroll over see a breakdown of your ratings.

8. Posts to Page

Posts to page are now more visible and, like everything else, has moved to the left side of the page – larger and more visible than before so you can be sure not to miss it!

9. Settings

They key settings of your Facebook are now bundled in one area under the settings tab – make it easier to find and update!

10. Page Action Snapshots

Snapshots of page action are now available – the snapshot allows you to look over statistics of the week just by hovering over different areas of Facebook, such as page likes or post reach, to see more information.

These little but significant changes to Facebook are important to know and understand, both for personal and business use of Facebook. Social Media Examiner does a great job on elaborating why!

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Facebook Pages Redesign: Sircle Media’s POV

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We recently highlighted the Facebook redesign of the newsfeed, but they’re not stopping there. Facebook Pages are also getting a redesign for Page visitors and Page administrators, and Facebook is calling it a more streamlined look.

What you need to know:

  • The redesign includes two columns similar to the old version, but the right column is now the Page’s timeline and the left includes information about the brand or corporation (In the old design, both columns served as the Timeline; posts were staggered between the left and right columns as users scrolled down.)
  • In the new design, the “Invite Your Friends” section has moved from the right side of the screen to the left, and the text box for posting switched from the left to the right side.
  • For Page admins, a new metrics section on the far right-hand side of the Page includes data about ads, Likes and post reach.
  • Facebook is also rolling out “Pages to Watch” for all admins, meaning users can create a list of similar or competitor pages to compare metrics like engagement and Page Likes.

We are all for change here at Sircle Media, especially if it helps our clients better achieve their goals of engagement and reach for their brand. The “Pages to Watch” will be a very helpful and useful feature in order to know what’s going on in the competitive landscape and how to compare the insights.  Once Facebook rolls out the changes and we have had a chance to use the new features we will check back in and let you know more about what we do and/or do not like about the redesign. Until then you can read more about it here: http://on.fb.me/1ftK8Po

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Facebook Redesign: What You Need to Know

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Facebook has recently announced a redesigned News Feed that separates streams of content into multiple categories and elevates the user interface with a mobile-inspired design.

The goal of the News Feed is to provide a “personalized newspaper,” according to Mark Zuckerberg.  It’s being changed to take advantage of more visual content sharing, as well as seperating personal stories and posts from public figures. “We want updates from our friends, but we also want updates from publications” and others.

Understanding that half of posts on the News Feed are visual content, the Facebook team has made photos and albums larger. Articles have also been expanded to include a fuller summary and the logo of the publication. Facebook is also working to make third-party content from places like Pinterest more attractive.

Besides the visual redesign, Facebook is also trying to take advantage of its “Like” system and various streams of information from apps or different groups of friends. Along with user’s friends’ stories, it will begin including recommended sites and articles or other content from people or pages that they’re interested in. There’s a new dedicated feed for people you follow but aren’t friends with, another nod to the change from pure social network to “newspaper.”

Facebook’s new look fits with the current trend of clean, image-saturated sites — it can now be compared to it’s competitor, Google+.

The new News Feed is launching on the web version today, with a mobile version coming in the next few weeks;  for more information on the change, click here!

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