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Why Social Media Shouldn’t Be Your End-All, Be-All for Marketing

Bold & Pop : Why Social Media Shouldn’t Be Your End-All, Be-All for Marketing

Oh yes! We are going there and we know how odd it is as a social media agency to be the ones to point this out but bear with us.. we know what we’re talking about after managing 100+ social media accounts throughout our careers! 😜

So you’ve heard the term “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, right? Well that rings very true for your marketing strategy. While we loveee social media and know the power it has to build your brand, community, and ultimately sales, it really shouldn’t be your end-all, be-all for your marketing. Why’s that? Because your social media efforts are much more effective in conjunction with a larger marketing plan.

Why you shouldn’t solely rely on social media:

  1. Constant changes: We don’t have to tell you more than once that social media companies are constantly making changes to their algorithms, which unfortunately we have no control over. This means that when a change happens and you’re not prepared to make adjustments immediately, your marketing is down the drain and your business suffers. When you have other pieces in your marketing plan, you’re able to have more flexibility to allow yourself time to pivot when changes occur.

  2. You don’t own them: You know the days when Instagram or Facebook are down and you can’t post for the day? Well that day you’re not actively marketing your brand if you don’t have a more comprehensive marketing plan! You’re basically out of luck. And not that we see this happening but what if for some reason Instagram and Facebook were to poof! disappear? Or your account was hacked and you lose all your followers and/or content? That means your only marketing channel would be gone.

  3. You’ll have more success with a comprehensive marketing plan: When you have a full marketing plan encompassing more that just social media, you can reach more people leading to greater success. Your target market isn’t always going to stumble across your social media posts so they may never even find you if that’s your only focus.

So what should you focus on when it comes to your marketing plan?

All of your marketing pieces should work together to maximize results. Here are a few areas you may be missing and how they work within your overall strategy:

Content Marketing: Yes, social media is part of your content marketing but it’s not the only strategy included in it. Content marketing involves anything of value that you create for your audience. It doesn’t necessarily sell your brand but it gives people an idea what it would be like to work with you or builds interest in your products. This includes:

  • Blog posts

  • Videos

  • Social media posts

  • Infographics

  • eBooks/White papers

  • Free resources (checklist, worksheet, etc.)

As you create this content, you want to make sure people are receiving it too. This means your blog posts can be shared on social media or in an email newsletter. You can use the free resources you created as an opt-in to build your email list. Blog posts help boost your SEO so it’s easier for people to find you when they Google search terms. You can also leverage your different content to help in your PR strategy by pitching yourself as an expert in your field (and you have the content to prove it!).

PR Strategy: Public relations is often overlooked (we get it.. you either don’t know how to get featured or you don’t have the budget to hire someone) but it’s a great way to get your brand in front of a new audience. Plus, you actually don’t need a budget and can do some of it by yourself! Sign up for HARO and you’ll get a list of stories that reporters are looking for sources for. Find the contacts for your local newspaper and reach out to them. You won’t know until you give it a shot!

When you do get press mentions, you want to make sure you’re sharing this on social media and in your email marketing so your established audience knows about it. That way you can build additional credibility with them as you simultaneously reach a new audience.

The backlinks for the article (if online) are also great for your SEO. Don’t forget to add it to your website too so when people do stumble upon your brand online, they know you know your ish!

Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing is a little bit of a mix between social media and PR and seriously one of our favorite ways to help new brands hit the masses! Just like with PR, you don’t need to have a huge budget to do it! Use social media to identify some of your favorite bloggers/influencers and reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in trying your product in exchange for a shout out on social media. (Keep in mind influencers with a larger audience will require compensation so don’t count out nano- and micro-influencers!)

But once you secure some influencers and they post about your brand, you’re able to leverage that content for your own social media (helloooooo #reposts) and even leverage bigger partnerships or even some press! Plus showing that influencers love your brand is super helpful in your sales strategy too… anything to show there’s a strong demand for your product/service.

Email Marketing: Building your email list is another crucial part to building your audience. Just like with social media, these are your most loyal followers so you want to give them an opportunity to stay connected with the brand. Here is where you can share blog posts and other content you created. You can use a freebie to get them on your list. You can provide them with exclusive offers/discounts to promote sales. You have the opportunity to do a lot here once you get them on your list.

Sales Strategy: Obviously you need to make sales to stay in biz so creating a sales strategy is essential! Depending on your brand, it may entail pitching retailers to carry your products or if may revolve more heavily on selling directly to customers. Social media will fall into this, especially if you’re selling directly to customers, but it may also entail going to trade shows or other events to sell your products to retail/consumers or if may be seeking out your favorite local retailer to pitch your products to them. Whatever it is, it’s important to have this piece locked down.

Every single piece of your marketing strategy should be focused on this end goal so it should all support your sales strategy. For example, your social media is going to reflect your overall brand to help a retailer or consumer determine if it’s a good fit for them. (We had a client go into a meeting with GNC and get complimented on their social media efforts.. retailers notice and pay attention to the brands they carry!). Your content and email marketing helps build a connection with your audience and creates a following for your brand, ultimately leading to sales. Your PR and influencer strategy will help illustrate the demand for your brand to both retailers and consumers.

As you can see, all of these pieces intertwine with each other to start to form your entire marketing plan but you can only do this if you have these pieces in place! So yes, we’re still sticking with don’t make social media your end-all, be-all for your brand… create something larger to guarantee your success!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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5 Ways to Increase Brand Partnerships as an Influencer or Blogger

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Increase Brand Partnerships as an Influencer or Blogger

The influencer marketing industry is only getting bigger, and if you don’t already know we’re big fans of using the strategy for our clients. From brand awareness to connecting with niche audiences and building a bank of reviews and user-generated content, the strategy can be gold from a brand standpoint when done right.

Normally we’re writing influencer marketing blog posts with brands or other social media professionals as our audience, but today we’re flipping the cards. Today we’re giving influencers some insight on some of the key factors that can help your social media accounts and blog look even more attractive to brands. I like to think I have a lot of insight on this topic too, because not only do I help secure partnerships for our clients, but I’ve also been a lifestyle blogger for nearly a decade and have had the opportunity to work with top brands like HGTV, Covergirl, Martha Stewart, Michaels, Lulu’s, Warby Parker and more! So on that note let me dive into the things I look for and have learned along the way myself too!

Be Authentic & Don’t Cut Corners

Let’s just address the big ‘ol elephant in the room about influencer marketing right from the top. If you really want to make it as an influencer and build relationships with brands then you have to grow your audience from the ground up. Yes it’s a lot of work and I know there are websites everywhere promising you thousands of “real social media followers” for as little as 10 or 20 bucks, but don’t do it! Seriously. It’s SO easy to spot and the second I start looking through an influencer’s followers and see their all bots is the second I move on.

In fact, I even wrote a whole blog post on this topic because the tactic gives influencer marketing a bad name and I’m not down with that. I get it, you think you have to have a lot of followers to secure partnerships but that’s not always the case. In fact, we actually specialize in working with micro-influencers at our firm because we really see the power in smaller niche audiences. It goes beyond just buying followers too, another thing I look out for are constant giveaways or loop promotions that are being used to inflate your audience, as well as engagement pods. Obviously participating in engagement pods is a lesser offense than buying followers, but, as a brand I want to see genuine engagement, not the same 20 influencers commenting on each other’s posts to try and boost their engagement.. I see you guys…. and I’m not the only one. 🧐So don’t “fake it, til you make it” on social media…because it’s not going to get you as far as you want in the long-term. Got it? Good!

Make it Easy to Learn more About You

Okay, onto some of the good stuff. Let’s talk about making it easy to 1.) find you and 2.) learn about you. If you have a blog, this section could go down a rabbit hole of SEO, but we’re going to skim over that for now. When I do influencer and blogger research I do it two ways.. either online or via Instagram. I usually start searching keywords for the specific categories or locations of bloggers or influencers I’m looking for. So my biggest piece of advice for you on this topic is to make sure you use those same keywords both on your social media profiles, the hashtags you use, and throughout your blog descriptions. Here’s a few examples of some of the keywords and hashtags I searched for our latest influencer marketing campaign for a client:

  • Lifestyle blogger

  • NYC blogger

  • Health and wellness blogger

  • Fitness blogger

  • Vegan

  • Healthy blogger

  • NJ bloggers

  • Healthy foodie

  • Food blogger

  • Plant based

For most of these I started with the exact keywords and then I also targeted a couple of the top hashtags for each to narrow down the influencers I’d be reaching out to. So if there are a handful of topics or keywords you really identify with and want to share about I definitely recommend adding them in. I also recommend including your location in your bio. You can either add that to the intro or add it under the contact options. If you use the contact option, just make sure it’s just the city and not your actual address because it will launch in the maps app and you know, creepers...

If you have a blog, registering your account on influencer campaign website/directories is another thing that can help people find you too. Typically those type of networks will work specifically with those networks for their campaigns but they can also be used for research for individual campaigns. I talk a little more about that topic in this post. So rule number one if you want more partnerships is definitely be specific about your interests and what you’d like to cover and make it known and easy to find!

Create Quality Content and Focus on Building your Community

When I select influencers to reach out to I’m really diving in deep for people who create quality content and paying attention to their audience’s reaction. In my opinion, I would much rather work with bloggers or influencers who create really awesome content for their partnerships than influencers with larger audiences who just slap up a mention without much thought. So as I mentioned before, there’s more to selecting influencers than just having x amount of followers.

While influencer marketing definitely has buying power, I’m more interested in the long-term effects. That is, actually building relationships with influencers who genuinely are excited about your brand that you can continue to work with as your business grows, having some really great reviews and having user-generated content that you can share on your website, repost on social media or even use to showcase consumer interest to retailers. So if you’re looking to really appeal to brands, show them what you can do! Focus on creating quality content about topics you actuallllyyyy care about and ideally every other post shouldn’t be sponsored. I understand if you’re reading this blog post you’re interested in increasing your partnerships but at the same time not everythingggg should be sponsored. It waters down your influence and it usually is a turn off for your audience too. So when you’re focusing on your content, think about taking quality photos, writing thoughtful captions and really engaging with your audience in the comments.

Share About the Products you Already Love

Taking the point above to the next level… while I don’t suggest having every other post be promoted, if there are brands and products you are genuinely excited about — share it! Even better if they aren’t actually promoted. This is great for a few reasons. 1.) It actually shows your audience that you just like to share about things you’re genuinely excited about and that fit into your lifestyle. and 2.) it shows brands that these types of posts fit into your content seamlessly and provide a sample of what you could do for their brand. Double win! When you highlight other brands either sponsored or not, you’re also building a portfolio of sample content you have created in the past. The technique is also great if you want to eventually

pitch companies in the future or even pitch one of those companies that you’ve posted about before! What better way to show them that you can create great content related to their brand and how their audience has reacted to those posts in the past?

Make it Easy to Contact You

This is a big one! Once I find an influencer I think would be a good fit, I’m onto finding their contact info and you make this social media manager super happy when it’s right there waiting for me and I don’t have to dig too far. I mean, I’ll dig if I have to… because… secret Internet ninja over here (in a non-creepy way) but when it’s right there in your bio waiting for me, it makes life much easier. So I recommend adding your email to your Instagram bio and having an easy to find contact page if you’re a blogger. Yes, I know Instagram has the awesome contact options now where the email will pop up, but here’s the thing. A lot of times I’m sorting through things on my desktop.. between the web app and spreadsheets and you can only see that feature on your mobile (at least for now). So it is definitely worth adding to your bio if you can make room for it. I can attest this helps too. I’ve had my bio with and without my email at times and outreach from brands has definitely increased when it’s in there.

Hopefully you found these tips helpful! My key takeaways for you are to focus on creating really great content and building a real audience (even if it’s small at first), include keywords in your bios and on your blog to help people find you and make your contact info easy to find. If you’d like to read more blogs on this topic definitely check this out or let me know if you have any additional questions I can answer!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched the free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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5 Essentials You Need for your Social Media Business

Bold & Pop : 5 Essentials You Need for your Social Media Business

One of the things we get asked a lot about is the actual structure of the social media side of our business. How we kick off campaigns, how we create our strategies and are contracts really necessary (spoiler, yes, yes they are).

So today we're giving you a breakdown of the 5 things we think are absolute MUST-HAVE's for your social media business. We're talking start to finish, a step-by-step of the exact systems we use in our business -- which we've finessed over the last 10 years in the industry. Things that will apply to your business no matter if you're working with local businesses or global brands (because we've used with both). We also wrote this post so that it will be relevant to you whether you're just starting out and getting your systems in order or have been in the industry for awhile and are just curious how others organize things or if there's a better way to do things than how you are now. So let’s get down to biz on the essentials.

Contracts

First things first, make sure you have a legally sound contract for your services. Your contact should outline exactly what you will be doing and your fees for such, what you are responsible (or not) for, your payment schedule, your cancellation or refund policy, etc. This is absolute imperative for your business and it’s so important that you have this drafted up and signed by both parties before you start any work. For reals, we’ve heard of way too many people getting burned and while this isn’t a glamorous step it’s so important. Trust us, don’t skip this step whether you’re working with your best friend’s mom or someone you met at an awesome conference you went to. Make sure you have your booty covered legally. You can find several lawyers who specialize in working with small businesses online and if money is in a pinch there are also some services that create fill in the blank type contracts that you can adjust for your business. #GetItDone.

Social Media Questionnaire

Once you’ve taken care of the logistics part of your campaign, it’s time to dive in! We kick off our projects by having our clients fill out a simple questionnaire. This helps our clients solidify their goals in writing as well as provide account logins, go over the styles they like, etc. Which BTW, you can download the exact questionnaire we use for our campaigns at the bottom of this blog if you want a little guidance. When you’re creating your questionnaire the key is to keep it simple enough that your clients aren’t spending hours on it, but detailed enough that you have what you need. We use the answers in the questionnaire + our introduction call to craft our detailed strategy. Here are a few questions we include in ours:

  • If you have social media accounts created, who is managing the accounts currently? Please explain your past techniques, content, etc.? What has been effective and what hasn’t?

  • Are there any blogs, websites, or other social media accounts that are relevant to your brand that you monitor regularly and could be used as content resources? Please explain and include links.

  • In terms of visuals, is there a specific aesthetic you’d like us to stick to for photos or graphics? Please provide branding guidelines if available.

Another key element of our questionnaire is asking clients ahead of time about answers to some common questions they get (or if they’re new, questions they foresee coming up). This allows us to hit the ground running and have prepared answers for those questions so that we don’t have to check in with our client for every little thing right at the beginning. This frees them up to do other things in their business (hiii why they hired you right?!) and you to be empowered to handle community management efforts from the get-go.

Audit Checklist

If you are working with an established business having an audit checklist prepared can help you streamline your process when it comes to developing your strategy. We do a simple version of this when we create proposals for clients, but we save the detailed audit for once clients sign with us. Working in the social media industry you always have to find that balance of giving your clients enough information and suggestions during the proposal portion to let them know you have some direction and know your ish without giving everythingggg away.

Once our clients have filled out their questionnaire, the next step for us is to go through our audit checklist internally. This step is all about evaluating all of their social media accounts and analytics to really digging in to what has been working for them, what isn’t, how we should plan our posting and engagement schedule, etc. We’re all about having systems that make it easy to go from step to step so having the things you want to check written down in advanced can speed up the process. We also include a few blank sections at the bottom so that we can fill in anything else really specific to their accounts that might not be in the standard audit. Things you may want to include in your audit are:

  • What is their current growth rate over time and how does that relate to their goals (If you’re managing Facebook or have access to historical data)?

  • What types of posts have received the most engagement or impressions? Is there a pattern between those?

  • What are the demographics of their current audience and does that correlate with their target audience?

  • What types of hashtags have they used on their Instagram posts in the past and does that correlate to top posts?

  • Based on their explanation of their past social media strategy, what parts will you preserve or change?

  • Do they have assets available to use or user-generated content that has not been used yet?

Your audit is all about guiding you through the questions and the types of data you want to evaluate so that you don’t miss anything along the way!

Strategy

This is the meaty part of kicking off projects. We view this step kind of similar to the proposal in some ways. Obviously you really want to highlight some of the results from your audit and the exact strategy you’re going to execute to help them accomplish their goals. You also need to make sure it’s not super overwhelming too. No one really wants to read a 20 page strategy and you’re going to waste time creating a doc that massive too. We like to sign our clients and get right down to work so our process goes as follows: sign our client agreement and take care of their first month retainer (usually have their start date the following Wednesday), after that they fill out their questionnaire and get us any admin privileges prior to their start date, then they receive their full strategy within 2 business days of their campaign starting and their first content calendar the day after that. So as you can see, having processes to streamline this process is essential to getting things moving and moving fast! That New York City pace of life and work never really wore off on us 😜

So now that I’ve spilled on the process a little, what the heck should you be including in your strategies? Here are some of the things we include in ours:

  • Campaign logistics — covering how often clients will be receiving content calendars/analytic reports and any other details as well as edit protocol

  • Campaign objectives — what is it you are actually trying to accomplish?

  • Strategies & tactics — what type of tactics are you going to implement to accomplish the campaign goals?

  • Content categories/visual style — what type of content will you be sharing and how does it relate to the brand?

  • Social networking and follower strategy — what is your plan for engaging with other accounts?

  • Ad campaigns (if implementing in strategy) — what type of ads will you be using and how will you handle budget?

  • Analytic reports — how will you be measuring success?

The key here is to outline the main components of the work you’re going to be doing so that they feel comfortable with everything and can sign off on the content categories and schedule.

Analytic Report Templates

The last component you should definitely have ready to roll are your analytics report templates. Because tracking success is kind of a big deal! So it’s important to decide ahead of time how you will be measuring the success of your campaign. Plus creating a template ahead of time allows you to easily plug in the metrics when you need to according to your schedule. Everyone does these a little different, but we provide monthly reports for our clients that correspond with their start date (so if they start on the 18th they get a report that day each month). No matter what your schedule, the important part is to identify the types of metrics you will be tracking throughout your campaign. Don’t forget to take starting metrics too! Here are some of the things you may want to include in your reports:

  • Community growth

  • Website referral traffic and rates

  • Engagement rates — likes, comments and post saves

  • Top posts and content categories

So there you have it, our 5 top suggestions! Our process has definitely been finessed over the course of our careers in the industry but these are systems and advice that have really benefitted our business and we hope hearing our process will help yours as well! Let us know if you have any further questions and don’t forget to download our questionnaire template below fo’ free!

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #GoingBold Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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