Choosing the right social channels for your target audience?

Choosing the right social channels for your target audience?

Choosing the right social channels for your target audience?

Shelley Gulley

The Cowbell Agency

In today’s digital age, trying to select the right social channels to reach your target audience is like trying to pick a movie on Netflix. There is so much to choose from, where do you begin? As of 2023, there are well over 20+ platforms, including the major powerhouses of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest. 

In this blog, we will outline 5 major steps you can take on the road to aligning the right channel with your audience.  

Step 1 – Defining your Target Audience

The truth is, to arrive at the right social channels you’ll need to first start by having a clear understanding of who you are marketing to. Considering factors such as age, gender, location, interests, buying behaviors, and the motivators influencing their purchases is the key to identifying the best fit. Know thy audience! 

Step 2 – Researching the Major Platforms

Each platform is unique in the way they utilize different features, demographics, functionalities, and types of content they focus on. Look for channels that align with your audience’s characteristics and preferences. Here are some of the most popular ones below: 

  • Facebook: Originally popular among college students, it has now grown to include a wide range of age groups, with the largest user base consisting of adults aged 25-54.
  • Twitter: Popular among users seeking real-time news updates, trending topics, and discussions. It has a diverse user base, attracting users across different age groups, interests, and professions.
  • Instagram: Initially popular among younger demographics, particularly teens and young adults, Instagram continues to have a strong presence among those age groups. However, it has also seen significant adoption among older age groups.
  • LinkedIn: Primarily used for professional networking and job searching, LinkedIn’s user base consists largely of working professionals, businesspeople, and job seekers. It tends to attract users of various age groups, with a higher concentration of older professionals.
  • Pinterest: Known for its focus on visual inspiration, DIY projects, and lifestyle content, Pinterest has a predominantly female user base, with a higher concentration of users in the 25-54 age range.
  • Snapchat: Initially popular among younger demographics, particularly teenagers and young adults, Snapchat’s user base skews younger. It has a strong presence among Gen Z and Millennials.
  • YouTube: With a vast range of content, YouTube attracts users of all age groups. However, it has a significant presence among younger audiences, especially teenagers and young adults, who consume a wide variety of videos.
  • TikTok: Known for its short-form video content, TikTok gained popularity among younger demographics, primarily Gen Z and Millennials. It appeals to those seeking creative and entertaining content.

Let’s dig in a little deeper. Do you like pizza? Let’s consider how each platform has its own way of communicating content, as shown in the example below.

Again, it all comes down to “knowing thy audience” and matching up with the best demographic that aligns with your target audience.  

Step 3 – Consider the Type of Content & Interactions

Some platforms drive content with video, others with graphics and links. Each is unique in the way it matches your target audience’s interests and engagement patterns. 

For example, if your target audience is C-Suite level, CEOs, VPs and Presidents then utilizing a business platform like LinkedIn where professionals interact by sharing articles, or corporate news updates would be a far better match than a platform like TikTok whose demographic skews much younger and is more focused on video content. If you plan to use visual content or products to show off, platforms like Instagram or Pinterest might be more suitable where visual graphics are front-runners to grab your audience’s attention. 

Step 4 – Prioritize Platform Popularity

Just because YOU love a platform, doesn’t mean it’s the best one for your target audience. Consider the popularity and user base size of each platform. A larger user base usually means more potential reach, but it also means more… dum, dum, dum…. Competition! Balance the size of your audience with your ability to stand out and engage effectively with the right social channel.

Last but not least…

Step 5 – Test and Measure

Once you have identified the most suitable platforms, (that’s right, there could be more than one!) start by creating a presence on those channels. Nowadays, most channels have amazing digital insights that allow you to drill down the metrics. Monitor your performance, engagement levels, and conversions. Adjust your strategy based on the platforms that yield the best results. 

At the end of the day, choosing the right social media platform(s) for your target audience requires careful consideration of their demographics, preferences, and marketing goals. By following these 5 simple steps, you can make informed decisions and optimize your social media presence to effectively reach and engage with your desired audience. Remember, social media trends are consistently evolving, so be sure to periodically review and adapt your strategy to stay relevant, and maintain a strong connection with your audience. 

 

Personalized holiday greetings provide better impact

Personalized holiday greetings provide better impact

Personalized holiday greetings provide better impact

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

The Christmas season is almost here! Wait a minute…can that really be true? It’s still pretty hot and humid out there. But yes, the time to start planning your holiday season marketing push is NOW. After all, you’ve got to have everything in place well before the season begins to take full advantage. And, having a well-thought out seasonal marketing strategy can deliver tremendous ROI for your business or brand.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a Top 10 list of things to remember or consider when putting together your Christmas or Holiday Season marketing strategies.

Drumroll please….

10. Don’t just slap on some lights and tinsel and call it Christmas.

In other words, don’t just apply some lame holiday clip art to something and think you’re achieving anything. Great Christmas branding incorporates the season in a meaningful way. It should evoke an emotion that has your customers looking forward to celebrating. We’re talking about real emotion and connectivity. If not, most of your efforts will look shallow and meaningless, and worst of all, forgettable.

9. Have a defined reason or purpose for incorporating the Holiday Season

This may seem overly simplistic, but remember the key emotional motivators for your customers. It doesn’t have to be sappy. For example, if you want to focus on convenience, as in a restaurant that features curbside full-meal delivery, remember how busy families are during the season and how your services remove key stress points. It isn’t that hard, but your success will depend on your creativity and planning.

8. Deck out packaging

Oh yeah, disregard Point 10 here. Do slap some tinsel and lights on some things. If you are a retailer, either online or storefront, there’s nothing wrong with providing an upscale Christmas theme packaging. This applies to even bakeries who might look at special seasonal boxes. The goal is to add some distinctive look that applies to only you. The benefits are long-term. You may not believe this, but if someone gets used to seeing a certain color or box design sitting on their sideboard during Christmas or Thanksgiving, they want to see it every year. You want to make your brand part of their celebrations.

For websites and social media, a simple banner change to Christmas greetings that aligns with your brand colors and themes can bring cheer to your customers and seasonal spirit to your brand.

7. Use the holiday to redefine your discounts

Everybody loves a bargain. In fact, you may be offering some great discounts year round. But, that doesn’t mean that same discount you ran in June shouldn’t now be called a Christmas discount. And if you’re using online discount codes, change them.

But an even more creative approach, which allows a benefit to consumers without devaluing your brand is to offer an added value. Consider pairing your product with a free gift, which customers can either keep for themselves or give to someone else.

Kick it up an even higher notch by branding those paired items, like tote bags and mugs with your logo. So the discount was providing my customers with a way to walk around promoting my products. That’s a win win if I ever heard one.

6. Stress mobile

Let’s be serious. You can throw all the statistics about how often people are connecting via their phone and throw them out the window during the holiday season. Why? Because it’s even higher during the holidays. We’re out and about. We’re stuck in lines at checkout, at restaurants, or wherever. We’re busy. And because of that, you should be connecting with your customers while they’re out.

For example, what if for every customer you had a cell number and permission to communicate with, you counted down the days of Christmas with a special offer or just a sentimental thought?

5. Consider Christmas gift cards to extend brand loyalty

It can be difficult to choose the perfect gift – that’s why more shoppers are turning to gift cards. Despite what some try to tell you, the recipients actually like choosing their own gifts. The trick is to design cards that both extend your brand with a memorable attachment to the season. That’s where really good marketing and creative types like us come in hand. (nudge nudge, wink wink)

4. Communicate with your current customers

The Christmas season is an opportunity to increase brand loyalty by reaching out authentically to your current customer base. You’d be surprised at the impact an unexpected and pleasantly surprising gift can be.

3. Let your customers be your marketers

Imagine if you will, a Holiday program that offered a prize to the winning entry in a contest. The contest is to say why your company’s product or service is part of their holiday season. All entries are posted on your Facebook page or YouTube channel. And of course, they post on theirs and share with their friends and family. Before you know it, you got an incredible marketing bang for a very small buck.

2. Get personal and festive on social media

In order to engage with your brand authentically, your customers need to know that there are real people behind the brand. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to show your Christmas spirit on social media channels like Facebook. This can easily be achieved by posting videos and photos of your staff incorporating Christmas into their lives. Don’t forget to use this opportunity to highlight all of your corporate giving and charitable causes.

1. Stay local on social media

Let’s face it, Christmas and seasonal holiday celebrations are pretty universal. But every community has a lot of traditions or shops that are uniquely local. Whether it be a local bakery or pumpkin patch, find those things and highlight them through your social media. Again, it is all about making connections with your customers.

So what does all of this add up to: Christmas branding doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. But what is necessary is a plan and a commitment. And even though it doesn’t feel like it, the time to start making those marketing plans is now.

Take more advantage of Google My Business

Take more advantage of Google My Business

Take more advantage of Google My Business

Owen Yorio

The Cowbell Agency

Google My Business (GMB) is a crucial element to your online presence. With a proper account, you are eligible for all of the advantages the platform offers. So as a start, make sure you claim your business. If you’ve been operating your business without creating a GMB profile, there’s a good chance Google has automatically created a shell of one for you already. This does make it easier for potential customers to find your business, but it doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles that can optimize traffic to your business or website. Simply search for your business on Google, if a widget displays on the side with your information, you can claim the business (there should be a button). If you do not, you’ll have to navigate to the Google My Business homepage and set up your profile there.

Once you’ve claimed/set up your business (it should guide you through some relatively easy steps to do so), you can begin adding additional information. You’ll want to take the time to do this if you want to get the most out of GMB. You should see a tab on the left displaying different sections of your GMB profile:

All of these are important to most businesses, except for Products and Website, and we’ll get to those in a bit. Let’s go over these in order:

Home

This is your dashboard, it displays broad information at a glance, and allows you to monitor aspects of your business while giving you various alerts.

Posts

This section allows you to create content for your GMB page, like COVID info, offers, updates, events, and products. It is useful to keep updating in this section as our business changes. Google likes to reward sites that keep their GMB page up to date with posts that reflect what your business is actually up to.

Info

In this section you can change information about your business, things like hours and social links. You probably won’t be in this section too often after you create your GMB profile, but it is important to make sure you fill out as much information as possible here, so potential customers know enough about your business to make a decision on it.

Insights

This is a great place to get information on the visitors of your GMB page and people who call directly from GMB.

Reviews

This section compiles all of your reviews, and allows you to respond to them. One of the most important tips we can give is to reply to all reviews, good and bad. Potential customers can see all of these reviews as well as your responses to them. If you don’t respond to reviews, it gives the impression that you don’t care about your customers. A simple “We appreciate your kind review! Thanks for doing business with us!” or a “We’re sorry we didn’t serve you to the best of our ability, we hope to make this up to you the next time you visit!” can go a long way. Obviously, you’d want to make it more personalized than that, but generally a response is better than no response. 

Calls

This is a new offering of GMB, so it isn’t as fleshed out as other functions. But if you set it up, it’s helpful to have call history information to track.

Messages

Once this option is activated, customers can message your business directly through GMB, a helpful offering.

Photos

The photos of your business is one of the first things people will see when they come across your GMB page, so give them something nice to look at! Interior and exterior shots to give them a good sense of the space. It’s also helpful to keep this relatively up to date.

Products

This area allows you to upload product information, allowing people to see what you offer right on Google. If you offer any type of product, this is a great option for you, but as we said earlier, this doesn’t apply to all businesses.

Services

If you offer services, this area is extremely important. You want to display what you can do to potential customers as soon as possible, so make sure this section is as up to date and accurate as possible. This also helps Google index your website and GMB profile, and offer it to people who are searching for your services.

Website

If you’d like a barebones website, this section allows you to make one through GMB. We don’t recommend this, as the sites that come out of this have no personality or much in terms of functionality or style.

Users

The last option here is to add other Google users to have permissions on this GMB page. Helpful if you’d like other team members to help you out in creating or monitoring your business information. 

It is important to keep all of your pertinent business information up to date and accurate on Google My Business, as it helps you and potential customers. Don’t put it off as a waste of time, because you could lose out on business, it’s worth the time to set it up and update it. If you need any help setting up an optimized GMB profile, let us know by giving us a call or commenting!

Famous Last Words – I Can Do It Myself

Famous Last Words – I Can Do It Myself

Famous Last Words – I Can Do It Myself

Olivia McDonald

The Cowbell Agency

There are no shortcuts when it comes to managing high performing Google Ads campaigns. 

Have you ever had a home improvement project that needed to be tackled and said to yourself “This should be easy. I can do it myself.” only to encounter unforeseeable roadblocks that left you feeling in over your head? And when it was all said and done, those roadblocks lead to far more of your time, energy and money than you expected, and it probably would have been less expensive to hire a professional to do the work?

This “I can do it myself” attitude is the same one many business owners take when they decide to get into the digital marketing space with Google Ads. At a glance, creating and managing your own account doesn’t seem all that overwhelming. However, like that home improvement project, you will soon realize that it is going to take far more time, energy and money than you originally anticipated, and the day-to-day operation of your business may be neglected as a result. At Cowbell, we have a team of certified Google Ads experts who have been trained in the best practices of Google Ads and know the best way to optimize campaigns based on your market, competition and budget. 

There are clear advantages to having an agency get behind the wheel of a Google Ads account and take the results to new heights. For starters, there will be no wasted budget. Your Google Ads Specialist has the skillset to take any budget and maximize results, from making adjustments to ads to improve quality score to reducing the average cost per click to increase the daily number of clicks. Next, Google is doing their best to persuade small businesses to adopt an automated bid structure. They make it seem as though they are helping you by taking the pressure off you to monitor and optimize as often as you usually would. In reality, this takes away the advertiser’s control and gives the advantage to bigger businesses with bigger budgets. More times than not, small businesses with smaller budgets end up paying more per click, quickly eating up the daily budget far quicker which leads to serving ads to less people. Lastly, without an automated bid structure, monitoring and optimizing campaigns takes a significant amount of your precious time. You can’t just set it and forget it. Passing the torch to your certified Google Ads expert frees up your time to focus on what is most important – running your business. 

Running a Google Ads campaign yourself only makes sense if you have extensive experience in Google Ads and its constantly changing landscape. If you don’t, you may be setting yourself up for a costly learning experience. If you want to see results without it costing an arm and a leg, it’s crucial to go to the experts. There are no shortcuts when it comes to managing high performing Google Ads campaigns.

HTML Email Signatures. Look like a pro to everyone.

HTML Email Signatures. Look like a pro to everyone.

HTML Email Signatures. Look like a pro to everyone.

Mike McBride

The Cowbell Agency

Have you ever noticed how some company email signatures simply look better and more professional than others? That is no accident. Those are HTML email signatures that help companies stand above the rest in email communications.

 

What’s so great about HTML email signatures?

The biggest benefit is continuity of delivered design. Many people do the best they can crafting their email signature right in an email program such as Microsoft Outlook or Mail and Calendar, Apple Mail or one of the many web-based email apps. Their expectation is that everyone will see their beautiful email signature just as they see it. This is not always the case. Though an email is technically like an HTML webpage, it gets translated and displayed on an email “client” program as opposed to a far more forgiving web browser. Each email client’s ability to properly display emails is affected by a multitude of factors including software versions, settings, platforms or whether it is being viewed from a computer or smartphone. HTML email signatures bypass many of these issues.

 

How is an HTML email signature different from those built with images, rich text and links using an email client?

The content, styling and imagery with an HTML email are all coded for consistent delivery…fonts, text styling, tables, links, etc. are not contorted into a mess by email client defaults. Images of company logos, social logos, head shots and more are not delivered as attachments in an HTML email. The images are hosted and served. This allows emails to be smaller in delivered size and also less likely to be flagged as spam.

 

If HTML email signatures are so great, why isn’t every company using them?

Creating HTML can be tricky for non-coders or expensive for those using HTML email signature apps or generators. And even after an HTML email signature is developed, it has to be personalized and installed in the email clients of all employees. At Cowbell Agency, we strive to make the design and deployment process as simple as possible. So our clients can communicate as consistently and effectively as possible. Contact us to learn more.

Beginning a Social Media Program

Beginning a Social Media Program

Beginning a Social Media Program

Adam Latham
The Cowbell Agency

To some, getting a social media program off the ground seems like some sort of black magic. You have a Facebook page, but no likes or follows. You have a twitter handle, but no followers. So, you think, why even post. And if you did, what is the value?

You know you should, and you know that eventually it may be worthwhile, but getting started seems daunting. 

The first thing I like to do is forget about the woeful size of your audience right now and think about these channels or platforms from a purely strategic perspective. What is their purpose and how do they fit my needs?

Let’s start with your needs. Apart from just advertising your product or service, ask yourself what type of information do you want to deliver to your audience? What, from you, do they want to hear? 

The answer to these questions will vary widely based on what your organization does or produces.

To help you answer these questions, let’s create a few hypothetical organizations. Let’s say you were a government or NGO who has a vested interest in pushing out a lot of information to the public, as in activities and schedules of events. Every time you push out a press release, it costs money. So instead, you’ve decided to use Twitter as your distribution channel. You are not looking to get into a lot of discussions with your audience there, just a public channel to broadcast that something new is available. 

This channel is very effective at this because most of the media itself follows organizations they regularly report on. 

Let’s also assume your organization wants to also build a community with relationships and conversations. This will most likely take place on Facebook. 

But, if you want to reach the generation between 16 and 23, then you should also include Instagram.

Let’s say your leadership, C-level executive and management, wants to be seen as thought leaders. If so, you need to include LinkedIn as part of your strategy.

So, before I even concern myself with building audiences and managing the pages, I build a matrix that includes the types of information I want to disseminate, and I choose the platform on which I want to broadcast that information. 

Secondly, I then, knowing the culture of those different platforms, will know how many different topics and amount of posts I need to create. 

This is how you begin building a Social Media Strategy.

The next phase is all about tactics. Connecting and automating where you can, getting the resources to fill the pipes with content, measuring and building audiences. 

Notice I put building audiences last. There’s a reason for that.

Everyone usually likes to start there. They go to their platforms and don’t see any audience and they think what is the point. Well, the point is, if you don’t have a regular flow of information, nobody will ever follow or subscribe. It would be like trying to get subscribers to a streaming service without shows for anybody to watch. Unfortunately you DO have to show a value for others to value your content.

And trying to build an audience before you can show value, is like kicking yourself in the butt. Every time someone goes to your page and is disappointed, the least likely they are to come back. Remember, when someone shares some of your content, you want to build and convince others to get there first.

Once you have your channels ready… you know, a good amount of videos on YouTube, articles on LinkedIn, posts and events scheduled on Facebook, an active Twitter feed that is constantly sending out links to interesting articles… then you begin paying occasionally to boost your circulation on your best, most valuable content.

Lastly, be humble. Share other people’s information if it is of value. Now, this can get misunderstood. I’m talking about Ford sharing GM information. What I’m talking about is the reality that every industry has resources from other sources that their customers might find interesting. The more you look like a channel of non-stop advertising, the less relevant your channel will become. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to have a personality. At the end of the day, beyond special offers and announcements, people want to be entertained. Never lose sight of that. The object is to get as much of your followers to want to share your info with THEIR followers and friends. It isn’t only about building your audience, but rather, inspiring your audience to spread the word for you.

Good luck and have fun.

Pin It on Pinterest