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In my many years as a digital citizen, few things have brought more joy to my heart than the schadenfreude of seeing companies firmly plant their feet in their mouths on social media as part of their digital marketing.

It happens so often, with such alarming regularity, I often wondered how many job openings there would be for someone to work in digital marketing without making their company or client look like, well, an uninformed doofus.

Thankfully, I found such a position at Acumen Studio, so I feel this platform is a great opportunity for me to share a few tips on how we help our clients with their social positioning. We’ll begin with an anecdote of my own (almost) failure:

October 11 is “National Coming Out Day,” and we felt it was important as an agency to support the struggle of LGBTQ individuals all over the world by sharing something on social media. Many brands and companies participate in social issue discussions throughout the year, and frankly, some are hit or miss.

Here’s what I came up with:

Pretty solid, right? Edgy, without seeming too self-serving or overly corporate. We don’t lend our voice to the discussion to simply increase our name recognition, we do so because we care.

Others, well…not so much.

You see, the Seahawks won an important football game after overcoming a significant point deficit and…well, the specifics don’t matter so much as the idea that professional football does not equal the struggle of Martin Luther King. At all.

Moving along, I wanted a quote for our National Coming Out Day post that spoke to the issue with Acumen’s unique voice, plus something that would fit in an Instagram photo. A bit of quick Google-fu landed me the following: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You’re not scared. You’re an asshole.”

This quote was attributed on the site I found it (along with several other quotes I recognized) to one Morgan Freeman. Yes, that Morgan Freeman.

Seeing the issue yet?

Having finished the design portion of the post, I was prepping the text and getting ready to publish when that nagging public relations and journalist part of my brain piped up. “Hey, do you remember how it’s the rush to be the first to post about something, or not really having professional input, that usually causes the biggest problems?”

Thankfully, I heeded that voice; a quick check of Snopes.com told me no, Morgan Freeman had never said that. The “quote” was from a tweet from a parody Twitter account using an image of Freeman as its avatar. It had been falsely attributed around the internet ever since.

Picture me, then, wiping my brow in relief. This potential bullet flew harmlessly over Acumen’s digital shoulder and we avoided a potential public relations nightmare.

The point of this anecdote (and this entire post, really) boils down to this: one of the most underappreciated aspects of your company’s digital marketing strategy is public perception. Online communities are almost rabidly tenacious to catch corporate entities with their social pants down. If you want to arrest a ring of thieves, you hire an ex-thief because they understand the mindset of the target. If you want to avoid the harsh brand damage that can come with an ill-advised social media post, you come to me, because I understand social.

Bane meme social media Tumblr

What other digital marketing firm is going to offer that?

To finish up, here’s a nice list, because the internet abhors a vacuum:

  • Don’t be in a rush to post about a trending topic for digital marketing without doing your research first.
  • Don’t let a single person brainstorm, create and post to social, no matter how trustworthy they are.
  • Do allow your brand or company to participate in social discussions, as it builds trust with current and future customers.
  • Do incorporate social discussions into your company culture, as it builds trust with current and future employees.
  • Finally, don’t use a meme you don’t understand. If you don’t quite get it, ask an intern. Or me.

Zach is a content and digital marketing sorcerer who spent time on the high seas as a Mass Communication Specialist for the U.S. Navy before graduating from Southern Illinois University. Apart from his love of KPIs and the invention of the “Like”, good St. Louis ribs, and Cardinals baseball, he’s also got the greatest job in the world: being a dad.

 

Social Media is a must do when it comes to growing a business, communicating with customers, acquiring new customers and becoming a real brand.  Many companies are not doing it, Many companies are “kind of” doing it, few companies are doing it successfully and only a small fraction of businesses are running social media at the highest level.

We break out Social Media Marketing effort into 3 Phases.

  1. Table Stakes (thanks to Eliot Frick from BIGWIDESKY for this name)

  2. Successful

  3. Top One Percent

*We don’t even consider not doing it a phase.  If your company is not on Social Media, please call us right now, at this very moment so we can get you up and live on social.  Every second you are not online and up on social media the quicker your company will die.

 

Table Stakes

When it comes to Social Media Marketing there is a minimum level of effort that must take place.

Having live profiles that contain consistent and accurate company information, imagery, posting content regularly at some frequency and linking to these profiles from other places on the web including your website, other social profiles, email, etc.

This is easy and will give you a boost in the search engines, overall customer visibility, website traffic, foot traffic, leads and sales.

Example Table Stakes Social Media Profile

The Dallas Furniture Bank

https://www.facebook.com/DallasFurnitureBank/

https://twitter.com/dalfurnbank

The Dallas Furniture Bank has consistent and accurate information, while posting regularly.

There is not an a large amount of engagement and obviously not running any paid promotion.

This is fine for many companies and should be getting done, but could be getting done in a more significant way by moving into the Successful Social Media Marketing phase.

 

Successful

To be running at the Successful Social Media Marketing phase, you must be doing everything in the Social Media Table Stakes phase plus driving consistent meaningful engagement through strategic organic & paid tactics as well as relevant strategic content (copy, images, videos, documents, etc.).

Example Successful Social Media Profile

The Watering Bowl

https://www.facebook.com/TheWateringBowl/

https://www.instagram.com/thewateringbowl/

The Watering Bowl has consistent and accurate information, while posting regularly.

There is good engagement, they respond, comment, message and are running some paid promotion.

This where most companies should be, but there is still one more level that your business could be reaching, it is the Top One Percent Social Media phase.

 

Top One Percent

To be in the Top One Percent of companies on Social Media you must be everything from the 1st and 2nd phases, plus creating a massive amount of content, promoting accurately through all means possible, engaging like your life depends on it and having passionately dedicated resources to work on this 100% of the time.

 

Example Top One Percent Social Media Profile

Red Bull

https://www.facebook.com/redbull/

https://twitter.com/redbull

https://www.instagram.com/redbull/

Red Bull does everything on social media, all the time, in every corner of the web and is engaging, relevant and passionate.  Strive to be like Red Bull when it comes to the social media part of growing your business.

 

I recently posted an article on the History of Snapchat, What it means for us Today and direction on How to Use it Well.

I’ve been experimenting with posting on different platforms, so you can the full article on…

Medium – https://medium.com/@johnbracamontes/the-history-of-snapchat-how-to-use-it-well-9a28db7eb8e7

or

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/history-snapchat-how-use-well-john-bracamontes

Below are a handful of GIF tutorials on how to use the platform

Snapchatting a Video vs. Photo

How to Add Filters and Double Filters on Snapchat

How to Use Snapchat Video Filters

How to Save a Photo or Video on Snapchat
 

Accounts to Follow on Snapchat

This is just a short list of people who are killing it on the platform. There aren’t that many yet because people still aren’t taking it seriously. So get on it now.

DJ Khaled: @djkhaled305
John Bracamontes: @acumenstudio
Casey Neistat: @caseyneistat
John Bracamontes: @johnbracamontes
Diplo: @diplo
Kate Hudson: @khudsnaps
Gary Vaynerchuk: @garyvee
Eva Longoria: @realevalongoria

The Marketers Guide to Instagram Ads

Instagram has been growing in popularity for years, but its potential as a powerful revenue driver for digital advertisers has only just begun.

Since Instagram first opened its doors to advertisers by unlocking programmatic access to its ad solutions, marketers have been eager to master the visually based platform. Why? With an audience of 400 million monthly active users that has doubled in size since 2014, Instagram is one of the world’s largest mobile advertising platforms, second only to its parent company, Facebook.

What’s in this Article

  • Demographics: Who’s on Instagram
  • The direct response advertising opportunity
  • Ad types and specifications
  • Creative best practices
  • Keep it fresh: Creative iteration

Download the PDF here: http://acumenstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/The-Marketers-Guide-to-Instagram-Ads-Acumen-Studio.pdf