Do You Have a Social Media Strategy? 7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting

Social media strategy.

Do you have a well though out social media strategy?

I’m baffled when I talk to people and they say they spend hours on social media everyday but they don’t see any results from it. When I ask them: What is your social media strategy? they look at me with the proverbial deer in the headlights look.

Your social media strategy should be predicated by your goals. Here are a few simple questions you should ask yourself before embarking on a social media campaign:

  • Are you looking for new sales leads?
  • Do you want to stay connected with your current customers?
  • Are you trying to get more people to come into your stores?
  • Are you trying to increase your Web traffic?
  • Are you trying to raise brand awareness?
  • Which social media channel is your demographics using?
  • How often do you plan to post fresh and relevant content?

By answering a few simple questions, you can hone in on a strategy that will work for your purposes and you’ll feel much better about pursuing avenues that lead you to that end.

Another useful strategy is to merely connect with people and thereby raise your brand awareness, increase your Web traffic, promote word of mouth or be seen as the authority on a subject. If you take this approach, don’t expect immediate sales because your goal is to broaden your network and get your name out there.

Positioning your business for success in social media takes strategizing and time dedication. Monitor your analytics to see where you’re being successful and where you need to make adjustments to your strategy. Starting a social media marketing campaign is exciting but it should not be taken lightly. You’ll get much better results if you have a well planned social media strategy from the beginning.

If you think it’s time for your company to get a social media strategy, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current social media efforts and give you feed back on how to make it work for your company.

Is Social Media Worth Your Time?

Let’s face it, it takes times to wade through the massive amount of information that’s available for us to read on-line and it’s time consuming to cut through the clutter and get to the actual stuff that may help us out. There are so many different social media outlets that keeping up with all of them will bog you down. How do you know if social media is really worth the time you invest in it?

If you spend two hours a day on Twitter and Facebook, that’s 25 percent of your day. How can you ensure that you’re going to get a good ROI on your time spent? Here are a couple of suggestions that may help you decide if you’re going in the right direction:

­Have a strategy
Don’t just put your company on the new social media site of the day just to have your name out there. Have a strategy first. Do you want to increase sales? Do you want to increase Web traffic? Do you want to raise brand awareness?

Figure out your demographics
If your audience is younger, than maybe Facebook would be a better resource for you but if your audience is more business people, then LinkedIn should be where you focus your time. If your target demographic is women, then Pinterest would be where you should focus your time as it has a huge following among women.

­Focus on marketing your brand
Don’t expect immediate sales from social media because that’s not going to happen. Your focus should be on marketing your brand as opposed to direct sales. The goal here is to connect with people and create a network, boost traffic to your site, connect with customers, make relationships with people and get your company name out there.

A good way to keep your social media current is to engage a couple of your  employees in participating and persuading them to make it a priority, therefore contributing to your company’s social media becomes a part of their day. If you do this, be sure you set guidelines on how much time they should spend on it and what the message should be.

Blogging and social media are here to stay, like it or not. With so many resources available out there and so many people making those resources work for them, the question is not whether social media is worth your time, but how are you going to organize your time to make social media work for you.

If you think it’s time for your company to get a social media strategy, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current social media efforts and give you feed back on how to make it work for your company.

Does Your Website Need a Boost? 5 Benefits of Freshening Up Your Website

There are many steps to creating a well thought out Website.

Your Website is the one marketing tool that is accessible to anyone in the world and it’s your best marketing asset. You may not be getting all the benefits you could from your site because it may not be as dynamic as it could be. If you haven’t done the following five essential things, maybe it’s time you consider freshening up your Website:

  • Elevate Search Engine Rankings – By adding key words to your content, your site can get better rankings. Sites with content that is updated frequently usually rank higher in search engines. You should always update your site with news about your company, articles or tips related to your services with links to those articles. Adding a blog would also help your rankings by adding content constantly.
  • Enhance Content and Performance – How many clicks does it take to get there? You don’t want your potential customer to get frustrated and leave your site because it takes too many clicks to get to the relevant information. Consider how your site is structured and see if it may need some trimming down. Over time, sites can get cluttered by pages and code that have become cumbersome from layers of updates.
  • Add Social Media Icons – You want people to share pages from your Web site, so make your content something they want to share. The more sharing people do, the more visibility you will get. Don’t miss out on sharing content just because you don’t have social media icons.
  • Increase Engagement of Your Site – User experience involves more than just design. You should streamline your information for successful delivery. Give your customer content that is relevant to them. Does your site look good on a mobile device? If not, you need to change that.
  • Know What Your Users are Doing – Become engaged with the analytics of your site to know what your users are doing. If they like certain content, give them more of it. If they like reading your blogs, post more blogs that they can share. If certain pages have higher bouncing rates, research why those pages are not interesting to the visitor.

Website design and content need to be managed and updated in order for your site to give you the best return on the investment. If you thought putting up a Website would magically bring you customers, you’re probably finding out that’s not the case. You have to keep content fresh, the user experience should be pleasant and you should provide value to people so they keep coming back and sharing your materials.

If you think it’s time for your Website to be refreshed, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your site and give you feed back on how to make it better.

To Blog or Not to Blog. That is the Question.

SEO, traffic, web site

Blogs will give your site more traffic because you are constantly adding content.

Are you blogging for the right reasons or are you doing it because you feel compelled to do it since it’s the things to do now-a-days. There are many different reasons why people blog; it could be for personal reasons because they like to discuss certain topics, for business reasons because they want to start a conversation with an audience, or just for pleasure.

Business owners continue to be unsure if blogging is worth their time and effort. But one thing is for certain: Blogging is an effective method to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your Web site.

Here are a few pros and cons to blogging. You can decide for yourself it it’s worth it:

Cons

  • There’s nothing worse for a reader than to read a blog and say: What was the point of that blog? You have to write content that is relevant to the reader.
  • It’s time consuming, that’s why many companies rely on outside services to build their blogs.
  • It always has to stay fresh and relevant. Stale blog content tells your readers that you do not care to keep up with the latest trends.
  • It’s a reflection of your business, so don’t do it haphazardly.
  • You will most certainly get writer’s block from time to time.

Pros

  • Improves your search engine ranking, so more people will find your site.
  • You never know who may land on your blog.
  • They give people a reason to click to your Web site.
  • They build your reputation by making you the authority on your topic.
  • They build followers.
  • They build lots of content on your site.
  • They give you popularity by maintaining visitors and followers.
  • They give added value to your site to attract customers.

Blogs can serve multiple purposes. You have to decide if the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to your business. A blog for your businesses will only work if you are willing to maintain it long term and keep it relevant. If you’re not willing to do that, what the point? If you need help maintaining your blog, we’ll be glad to assist you at www.hadfield.net

The Social Media Revolution 2012: Why Social Business Matters

Social business and social media marketing is transforming business large and small. The revolution will not be televised… it will be digitized.

The Positive of the Negative — the Power of the NEW White Space Prevails


“White” space, or “negative” space, has been used effectively in advertising design ever since the 1950’s and ‘60’s, and continues to be one of the most powerful design tools available, even as it evolves in the way we define it in an ever-changing environment.

According to a 2006 study in the Journal of Consumer Research, ever since print ads for Volkswagen in the 1950’s and the architectural minimalism influence of the 1960’s, “…nothing became something…” and “…is typically used to convey elegance, power, leadership, honesty, trust-worthiness, a modern nature, and a refined taste associated with the upper social strata.”

In 2011, designers find that white space can be either Active, and effective, or Passive, which is much less so, or not at all, depending on your point of view. Most stress that an Active space is one that is asymetric, but balanced, and deliberately structures the page and emphasizes areas of content.

Graphic Arts Magazine says that “Graphic designers have a challenging role to play in the 21st century (and numerous hats to wear) due to our increasingly technological world. Designers of the past needed only worry about the print options available, whereas designers of the new millennium have to understand various mediums, such as print (magazines, large-format signage, labels and packaging, to name a few), the web (via HTML and Flash, for example), as well as smartphone and tablet technology.”

In such environments, examples of effectively-used negative space can be found in the use of color, texture, pattern and even photography or typography.

Digital Mash Website

Hadfield Communications, Inc. has more than 16 years of experience in the creative, effective use of space in design. Contact us to find out more about how we can make positives of the negatives and provide an active influence on your business.

Communicate in Color — Consider the Culture

In a world of visual media, one of the most important first impressions you can make is with your use of color. Whether you’re looking at ads, logos, web sites or a product label or package, the impact of color on your perceptions can influence your emotions, attitudes, and ultimately the actions you might take in result. Furthermore, these perceptions can vary widely based on cultural differences around the world. For this reason, in creation of visual materials and images it is important to consider the impact that color might have in regards to the audience you will be targeting.

Psychoanalyst Carl Jung said “…colors are the mother tongue of the subconscious.” Studies have shown the importance of visual impact and the use of color in particular, on consumers and their purchasing choices. For instance, the Seoul International Color Expo conducted a poll in which 92.6% put most importance on visual factors when making purchases, and 84.7% felt that color accounts for more than half of that visual impact.

When you intend to communicate with color, take into consideration these suggestions about the meanings and perceptions associated with various colors as perceived in the Western culture and around the world:

RED — is powerful, passionate, exciting and energetic. As it is the color of blood, it can mean life and love, or conversely, danger and death. The stimulating characteristics of red make it a preferred choice in the marketing of beauty products and food. In China, red is a symbol of celebration and good luck, and in India it is the color of purity accepted as the traditional wedding color. In Japan red is the color of life, while in South Africa it is the color of mourning.

ORANGE — is cheerful and energetic, meaning warmth and balance. As a more neutral step away from red, it has similar energy without the negative connotations, except that it sometimes might give an impression of cheapness. Orange is used to market energy drinks, fast food and children’s item. In Ireland orange has a Protestant religious significance, and in the Netherlands is recognized as the color for royalty.

YELLOW — is generally considered a happy, joyous color, that of the sun and summer, though it also means caution. In advertising, yellow is a somewhat mixed blessing. While it is very eye-catching and optimistic, it can also be taxing to the eye and the mind. Sometimes symbolizing rejuvenation, yellow is often used to market beauty products, fast foods and children’s products. In Asia, yellow is a sacred, imperial color, in India the color for merchants, and in Japan it means courage, while it is the color of mourning in Egypt.

GREEN — is most widely recognized as symbolic of nature and the environment, and means good luck, prosperity and vitality, but also has connotations of envy and greed. Green would often seem to be a good choice for marketing use, though studies prove that not to hold true in France, where it does not seem to be effective in packaging, or in China where it can imply betrayal or exorcism.

BLUE — is perhaps the best universal color choice, signifying truth, serenity, comfort dependability and authority. At the same time, it might be the worst choice for food-related endeavors as it acts as an appetite suppressant, possibly due to the rarity of the color to be found in nature. There are some negative connotations as well, with the coolness of the color implying cold, distance or sadness. In China, blue means immortality, in the Middle East is symbolizes protection, in Judaism it means holiness, and in Hinduism it is the color of Krishna.

PURPLE — is widely accepted as a noble color of royalty, spirituality and luxury, excellent for representing the higher-end, top quality goods and services. Purple is also recognized universally to stand for Catholicism, while in Thailand it is the color of mourning worn by widows.

PINK — is generally known to be the most feminine color, signifying romance, friendship and affection, making it a good choice for use with anything for girls or babies, also for women and sometimes for candies or sweets. Although it can have a calming effect, it also seems to have an element of irritation in regards to most men. In exception to that is Japan, where pink is popular with both genders. In Korea, pink is the color of trust.

BROWN — means earth, home, comfort and stability. It can stimulate the appetite, which would make it a good choice for use in the food industry, however in India it is the color of mourning, and in Colombia it is known to discourage sales.

WHITE — in Western tradition means purity, reverence, simplicity and innocence, and is the most widely accepted color for weddings. This does not hold true in Eastern cultures however, particularly in Japan and China where white is the color of death and mourning, and in India where it means unhappiness.

BLACK — is powerful, sophisticated and elegant, while also meaning death or evil. In Thailand and in Judaism, black means bad luck, unhappiness and evil, while in China it is the color associated with young boys.

The use of color can have a marked impact on the messages you communicate visually though marketing materials of all kinds, so be sure to know your audience, and the effect that the colors you choose may have. Hadfield Communications, Inc. has more than 16 years of experience in marketing and promotions. Contact us to help you communicate in color!

More Holiday Marketing — Never Forget the Fourth!

Another holiday is already upon us, and in the tradition of the American Dream, the Fourth of July is surely a great one for promoting and growing your business. Of course Independence Day celebrations can clearly be expected to generate sales in the food and beverage industries, but many other areas of business will benefit as well, and all can certainly take action and observe the holiday to positive effect for the bottom line!

Americans celebrate the Fourth of July in many ways, including barbeques, pool parties, lake or beach excursions, tailgates, festivals and fireworks displays. All of these can require purchases ranging from food and drink to clothing, accessories, decorations, yard and garden goods, furniture, tools and electronics just to name a few. Your business might do well to advertise special holiday sale prices, or you could stage an event to attract consumers, using the holiday theme as an exciting departure from the ordinary.

A few methods you can work with to get the word out about your special holiday sales or events might include printed materials for direct mail or on-site promotion, web site presentation or banner advertisements and email campaign blasts.

Hadfield Communications, Inc. has more than 16 years of experience in marketing and promotions, so we can help you turn this Independence Day into a true celebration for your business. Contact us to make the most of your holiday marketing options.

Feature Father’s Day for Effective Marketing Efforts

Americans have been celebrating Father’s Day for more than 100 years now, and as with other holidays, it creates excellent opportunity to generate business and benefit your company, in addition to honoring our dads and all that they do. Now also observed in many countries around the world on the 3rd Sunday in June the U.S. can claim it’s initiation thanks to a Washington state daughter who wanted to honor her father, a Civil War veteran and widower who raised six children on his own.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 70.1 million fathers across the nation, and Father’s Day is the 4th highest holiday for greeting card sales. Quite obviously, the greeting card business and others whose demographic is the adult male population, can, and do step up their business and marketing efforts accordingly. Creative Outlet (http://creativeoutlet.com/blog/2011/06/use-these-fathers-day-facts-to-inspire-your-advertising.shtml) says that some of these traditional categories include electronics, sporting goods and home improvement items or appliances. However there is even more opportunity presented by Father’s Day for all kinds of other businesses than might be generally recognized. Also according to Creative Outlet the largest percentage of gift purchases for last year would be dining out at almost 40%. Gift card sales were second highest at just over 31%, and books or CDs third at more than 23%. All of these make excellent gifts for fathers with any preferences or interests, not only the golfing, fishing and woodworking clichés!

These statistics clearly point to the special holiday marketing opportunities for restaurants and for book and music sales, but with the popularity of gift cards on the rise, the field is opened up to almost any kind of business or service. Don’t overlook the benefits of directing your marketing efforts towards Father’s Day celebrants, as not only are fathers recognized on this special day, but also are husbands, grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles and even just “someone special”.

Although traditional gifts for fathers will certainly do well in June, completely unrelated businesses can get in on the observance to advantage. For instance, charities and non-profits might suggest donations in the name of the recipient, grocers might offer holiday specials for grilling at home instead of the more costly dining out option, and web sites might provide Father’s Day related fun facts, games, trivia or even free e-cards for Dad. For example, you can find free e-cards at SOS Children’s Villages or consider a donation in your dad’s name. These types of solutions can increase traffic to your web site and thereby help to promote your business.

Hadfield Communications, Inc. is proud to honor all fathers this year — including those who are friends and family, employees, clients, vendors, business associates and prospective clients. We invite you to contact us for more information about how you can provide special holiday-directed marketing to benefit your own clients and to better your own business.

An Infographic Explosion


Infographics have been used to get the point across ever since prehistoric man started drawing on cave walls. Today’s fast-moving society finds them ever more valuable to communicate information quickly and clearly. From cave paintings to maps, road signs, tables, charts and graphs, infographics have evolved into some truly eye-catching complexities well suited to today’s movers, shakers and web-browsers!

Wikipedia defines Infographics as “…graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge.” That source traces the history of their development from “… cave paintings, and later maps” through graphics used in astronomy in 1626, statistics in 1786 and medicine in 1857, among other uses through those years. In the 20th century infographics further developed into a visual language using pictographs and stick figures in many different applications, including the “Pioneer Plaque” that was launched into space aboard the Pioneer 10 probe in 1972 “…intended as a kind of interstellar message in a bottle, designed by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake.”

Since the onset of the Internet, and most recently the popularity of social media aggregation sites, infographics are exploding in popularity as a means of catching the eye and conveying a message as instantly as possible. In such a super-speedy environment, infographics can be an excellent method by which to generate viral content that can be readily shared. You can use infographics to grow your business by presenting your information in a way that is visually pleasing, interesting, exciting and entertaining to the viewer.

Whether you present information about your company, product or service via printed materials, web content or any other visual media, infographics spread the word in a visually appealing, simplified method that can be most effective. For example, you might present your best attributes as compared to the not-so-good ones of your competitors in the same way as this example from dailyinfographic.com compares prison food to school lunches.

Or, if you’re trying to communicate the importance of utilizing social media to help promote your business, you might want to include something like this infographic by Hadfield Communications, Inc. as a colorful, concise means of describing just how social media works.

Hadfield Communications, Inc. is an excellent source for your custom designed infographics. Contact us to provide you with pictures “worth a thousand words” to help you communicate as quickly and simply as only an infographic can do!

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