As a marketing agency representing a number of CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands, it’s vital we stay agile when crafting content, keeping our clients a cut above the rest. Through this series of blog posts, we’ll share our why behind creative tooling and how-tos to keep your creative process flowing.
It’s been a process finding the right tools for our team.
For one, there’s the commitment factor – you get the cheapest rates if you sign up for a year-long payment plan, but then you’re stuck with whatever you get. Good or not.
Obviously try (by free trial offers) before you buy, if it’s an option. But, we’re here to save you time and money.
Here’s the comprehensive list of tools we rely on for day-to-day management; social media planning, posting, and engaging; as well as reporting + the pros and cons behind each one.
Cloud-based spreadsheet program
We use it for:
Those looking to save time would benefit from using the additional programs listed below.
Kanban-style list-making application
We use it for:
If you need a place to store and share multiple drafts, Trello is a great asset. If you’re in need of a system where you can queue up posts weeks in advance and aren’t afraid to put a little money down, read on.
Project management system
We use it for:
Software app for managing, posting, & reporting across social media accounts
We use it for:
Sprout Social, $99-$249/month
Social media management software
We use it for:
Honorable Mention – Planoly
free resources online
We use it for:
There it is! A list of tools that we currently use for social media planning, execution, and client communication.
You may gather that Sprout Social is our favorite software – against Buffer, it does have a few additional features that we prefer.
For big-picture planning, a combination of Google Sheets, Trello, and Basecamp may serve your team best. If you have to pick just one, how about Google Sheets as it’s cheap, diverse, and collaborative.
With Turkey Day right around the corner, it’s time to execute a killer Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) marketing plan. That’s right – it’s not too late to improve upon any existing plans you have in the queue or start a campaign from scratch sourcing some inspo from the ideas we’ve collected for you below.
In any case, you need to take part in the sales madness to some extent: “In 2018 the average adult spent $483.18 over the shopping holiday, making a total spend across the US of $90.14 billion,” (Oberlo). Yeah, that’s a chunk of change.
Okay, time to share our favorite BFCM examples.
1. Promote Giving Tuesday Instead, Ivory Ella
Ivory Ella is an online for-profit clothing store affiliated with Save the Elephants, an organization specializing in wildlife conservation. So, it only makes sense for this cause-based brand to lean into Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday following Thanksgiving) rather than Black Friday.
For every customer who purchased a beanie on Giving Tuesday, Ivory Ella donated 100% of the proceeds towards buying coats for children in need. By holding their sale on a day outside of the Black Friday rush, the competition had certainly simmered down.
It’s awesome that this campaign reconnected their audience with the meaning of the season – giving! – while spreading the word about their brand. Users were encouraged to snap and share a photo wearing that hat online with the #GivingTuesday, seamlessly spreading the brand’s reach for the foreseeable future.
2. Create a Gift Guide, Trouva
“Gift guide themed emails see a 48% higher transaction rate than purely promotional emails,” (Campaign Monitor). This!
Put together a compelling gift guide based on any number of details, like gender, price point, or product color. Don’t forget to have fun with it to set your post apart from the crowd! Here’s a short list of some of our favorite gift guide titles from PopSugar:
Here’s an example from Trouva (a curated marketplace for brick and mortar independent shops) of a gift guide based on sustainable products.
They sent this email out with the subject line “Gifts with a Conscience.” A little serious, but clearly targeting an eco-minded audience.
It’s this idea of specificity paired with a curation model that differentiates Trouva’s platform and overall marketing efforts. And, with notable success: “[In 2018, Trouva] was recognised for the second year running as The Next Web’s Tech5 list of five fastest growing technology companies in the UK, as well as the 8th fastest in Europe, with revenue growth of 3,332 per cent over the past two years.”
3. Make a Statement, Cards Against Humanity
Okay – this one’s a little crazy, but hear us out!
Back in 2013, Cards Against Humanity took the opposite approach to BFCM. Instead of decreasing their prices, they increased them by $5 across the board.
“Amazon [was] hesitant, but green-lit the price-rise and sat back incredulous as the card game’s sales actually increased year-on-year. The ‘sale’ was widely shared on Twitter and Tumblr, was the top post on Reddit and was widely covered in news outlets the world over,” (Our Social Times).
CAH continued to profit off this absurdist approach: In 2016, they crowdsourced over $100k so they could dig a hole for as long as people could pay to keep the backhoe running.
In 2018, they had a 99% Off Sale: “Every ten minutes, a new deal will go live on this page. Don’t be frightened by the deals. Just click and let the savings wash over you.”
“The sale started off by offering 99% off of a twenty dollar bill, and then REALLY got creative. A 17th-century halberd, a slightly used car, a 30ft inflatable bald eagle, and a sort of “Royal Throne” soon followed the initial offer,” (IMPACT). Users actually bought and received these items – wild.
If it weren’t already obvious, CAH aren’t fans of Black Friday and would rather uplift anti-consumerist culture. This move ultimately fosters brand loyalty. So, don’t be afraid to go against the grain if you’ve got a niche audience or especially fun product line + service.
4. Time Is Running Out, Lou and Grey
It doesn’t take much to get your audience on the edge of their seats – convey a clear sense of urgency with a short-term + significantly discounted sale and the purchases will roll right in.
When it comes to emails, you can’t go wrong employing minimalist imagery + a dynamic element (see: this clock’s minute hand ticking away). Remember to be super intentional with what you draw attention to in this way – here, it is very clear that time is of the essence.
We recommend running a 3-day promo with a series of automated emails: Email 1, 72 hours prior (introduce your super short sale); Email 2, 48 hours prior (increase intensity of language); and Email 3, 12 hours left (harp on scarcity: “almost completely sold out of our stock, better hurry!”).
That’s it – four of our favorite BFCM campaigns! Did you have a favorite? Or, are you planning something totally different that you’d like our thoughts on? Shoot us a DM on Instagram sometime – we’d love to hear about it.
Looking for a little something more to fuel your BFCM marketing plan? We’ve got a guide to help you out from start to finish: check out our Black Friday, Cyber Monday Total Execution Plan now.
Earlier this year, Instagram announced a new tool for business-influencer collaborations: branded content ads. Now, “advertisers have the ability to promote creators’ organic branded content posts as feed and stories ads,” (Instagram Business).
We love this because –
As these ads appear across feeds and stories, people will see “Paid partnership with” along with the brand name on each post. This not only abides by FTC (Federal Trade Commission) guidelines, but adds an element of transparency which empowers users to knowingly support the influencers or brands of their choice.
“Influencer marketing works because it uses tactics like word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, which are now critical aspects of any successful marketing strategy. Customers trust their peers, friends, and people they admire more than the companies selling the products and services they buy and use.” (HubSpot)
Imagine this – you’re minding your own business, scrolling through your IG feed and two ads come up. One is a standard skincare ad with a SKU of beauty products. This is shortly followed by another skincare ad, but this one feature Chrissy Teigen – you love how authentic Chrissy seems online (her tweets are gold).
It’s a no brainer – the second ad resonates with you more. At best, you purchase the skincare product that Chrissy endorses. At least, you engage with the ad in some way, could be as simple as liking the post or clicking through.
This type of influential ad is much more likely to get your audience to engage in some way, which warms them up for a potential purchase in the future.
We’re excited this option is available. Already got an idea on how you’ll leverage it for your next influencer partnership or looking for advice on how to do so? Schedule a free strategy call with our team.
When Instagram launched, it was just another social network for photo editing and sharing (where are our Valencia lovers at?!). But due to its visual nature and inventive audiences from across the globe, it has exploded in growth since inception (the acquisition by Facebook helped with that, too).
Some influencers and brands have created main feeds like a work of art – colors, subject matter, and cadence 100% on point. Though, others just snap a photo and hit publish without much scrutiny.
One method isn’t more “right” than the other, but when carving out a client’s online presence, there is a happy medium to be found. Not every photo needs to be spot-treated to perfection. In fact, we’ve seen amazing engagement on lower res photos for their air of authenticity.
Why use Instagram for marketing? A lot of good can be said about memorable branding – it helps to grow an audience base, it’s appealing to look at, and ensures better brand recognition.
That’s why we’re sharing this quick guide to posting on Instagram in a way that’ll make your feed more branded.
Limit colors + fonts
You may be thinking, “Does this tip apply to me? I don’t put text on photos on my IG.” Yes! Some users choose not to incorporate text in their main feed, instead they prefer to share additional information in their captions, Instagram Stories, or a link in bio. Let’s get into that.
When it comes to IG Stories, don’t use every font in your wheelhouse (there aren’t many, but still) when publishing IG Stories. It can distract from your overall messaging to have too many things going on at once.
Instead, use only 1-2 fonts – a primary font that’s easy to read and a secondary font for flourish. Or, just two primary fonts for clear readability.
Here are some suggested pairings:
We consider STRONG, CLASSIC, and MODERN to be primary fonts as they’re super readable typefaces. Secondary fonts would include TYPEWRITER and NEON – they can be harder to read, but fun to use as an accent.
There are plenty of apps out there for designing custom Instagram Stories with even more fonts + templates. If you’d prefer to use one of those, go for it – the same idea applies. Find a couple of typefaces and templates that work for you and be consistent in how you use them.
Layer on this idea when it comes to your main feed. If you’re starting from scratch, you may be wondering how to build a brand on Instagram. When you represent a product or service with existing branding applied to packaging or a website, you can leverage those typefaces and brand colors across graphics on your main feed for brand cohesion.
Social graphics for @cruxtablets are heavily inspired by product packaging – notice the same typeface and colors!
Create a series of branded graphics
A single branded graphic here and there is just fine. But, you could also create a series of branded graphics to pepper across your page – this gives your audience something to expect and even look forward to.
For @myserenitykids, this takes shape in the form of quote posts and #SKparentinghacks.
Both employ the same font – Veneer – and complement each other nicely on the main feed.
A fan of these series can easily locate them on the feed, checking back regularly for new facts or quotes.
Pick 1-2 filters for photos
So, how do you maintain a similar look and feel between photographs? There are a couple ways, but our favorite and one of the most commonly used options is applying a filter (we use VSCO).
VSCO is a photo editing app with hundreds of filters. There’s something for everyone – warm and cool tones, black and white, and retro effects.
But don’t go applying starkly different filters to your photos and posting the results all on the same feed. Instead, pick one or two filters from the same family that fit your brand.
To achieve your desired look, choose 3-4 photos and apply the same VSCO filter across all of them. Repeat the process with as many different filters as you’d like. Now, you may want to phone a friend for a second opinion or work on something else for awhile – this way you’ll return to the photos with a fresh perspective. Once you’re happy with 1-2 filters, you’re all set!
Here’s some more reasoning behind the filter-picking process: CANTEEN Spirits uses L4, L5, and L9 – a vibrant filter with semi-sepia hues that complement nature shots and give their canned product an almost vintage feel.
Like we said in the beginning – work toward a happy medium. Give yourself or your clients some wiggle room while developing a curated Instagram feed. If something doesn’t work later on, you can always archive it.
Have fun with it and be willing to pivot as Instagram marketing, you, or the brands you represent evolve over time. Join us on IG @umaimarketing for more quick editing tips for fostering brand awareness.
Times are strange, but the world keeps on turning. That’s why it’s important to pivot, no matter who you are – influencer, brand, or agency. Knowing this, we joined @naturally_austin’s Virtual Town Hall on April 8 to share what strategies we’ve learned + implemented so far.
We’d never keep that valuable knowledge from you! Instead, we’ve compiled our favorite clips + a transcript of our answers to ensure you and your team can execute a stronger, more respectful social media strategy.
Q: “What’re your dos and don’ts for organic content right now?”
A: We’re figuring out ways to be flexible and suggesting our clients do the same.
Follow @canteenspirits for more positive Stories.
Q: “What’s working on Instagram Stories versus one’s full Instagram feed?”
A: On the feed, it’s education on wellness + lifestyle benefits of your product; staying authentic, sometimes with long-form videos on IGTV; and recipes or health-minded how-to graphics. For IG Stories, it’s raw video footage of your team at home or using your product.
Q: “Do you feel like we’ve taken a step back from polished looking content to move toward a more authentic posting style?”
A: Yes! We’re connecting on a way more human level.
Q: “What about influencer relationships right now?”
A: Yes, we’re still doing them! Word-of-mouth recommendations are SO strong and encourage participation with new audiences.
Q: “What’re you recommending for ads?”
A: It’s up to your discretion. If you keep ads up, double check copy + imagery and pivot as needed, especially with copy. Make discount codes more relevant, example: INTHISTOGETHER. We’ve included some more examples of when brands pivoted well or failed to pivot at all.
Here are some more examples we pulled. We chose these specifically because a lot of them don’t necessarily require a new photoshoot or creative deep dive – just a change in copy.
Here are some examples of when brands should’ve pivoted –
Important ecommerce policies to keep in mind:
Q: “Do you see a change in ads and paid plans for Instagram versus Facebook as of now?”
A: Mobile feeds for Facebook perform just as well as Instagram, as long as the ad creative is thoughtful. Now is a great time to reach people – everyone’s online right now. We’re seeing cheaper objectives + higher clickthrough rates across the board.
In summary, pivot so your organic social is personal and your advertising strategy speaks to the very real situation at hand in a positive manner. Use this time to educate and support your audiences rather than shutting off, risking a loss in brand awareness. For additional tips and future webinars, follow along @umaimarketing.