Now Is the Time to Start Focusing On Your Public Relations

Most businesses in 2020 understand the power of social media in building a relationship with customers, but have you ever considered how public relations can impact your marketing results? While social media marketing helps to build brand awareness, a public relations strategy will complement your social media efforts to further build trust between you and your customers.

As a public relations agency in Connecticut, we help build, maintain and manage the reputation of our clients. Recently, with COVID-19 saturating the news, it seems many businesses need to plan their marketing strategies day-by-day, rather than building out long-term campaigns. With so much uncertainty, it can be difficult to find an angle when it comes to pitching a newsworthy story to the media. This leads to the question: Why is NOW the time to start focusing on public relations in Connecticut?

Fact: Public Relations is 30% to 50% more cost effective than advertising. (Source: Strategic Vision PR Group)

Paid Media Versus Earned Media

First, let’s cover the basics. You’ve probably heard that Public Relations is all about “earned” media, but what does that really mean? It’s easiest to understand when you compare paid media versus earned media. Paid media efforts can be an important component of a well-rounded marketing campaign. Simply put, paid media refers to all the promotional opportunities your brand needs to pay for, from traditional print advertising and event sponsorship, to digital ad buys and social media targeting. On the other hand, earned media includes results from unpaid coverage received from outside media outlets, influencers, and even customers themselves. Earned media Public Relations efforts provide valuable visibility for your company – when a third-party shares content on your company’s behalf, it adds a level of trust and credibility that paid media simply can’t provide.

Incorporate Positive News

With the coronavirus still top-of-mind, more and more people are consuming news media on a more frequent basis, looking to stay informed on the current status of the pandemic. Because the news is so saturated with all things COVID-19, now is the time to be strategic with the lens through which your company shares its content. For example, think of all the ways your business has changed in response to COVID-19. From new business procedures to new product lines, consumers are interested in hearing from Connecticut businesses that are leading the way in finding news ways to adapt and thrive in our changing world. Furthermore, the media is also seeking out positive, human-interest stories to help balance out the daily “bad news” reporting surrounding the pandemic. Now is the time to pitch those uplifting, human interest stories about your business that can provide the public with some much needed positive news coverage to digest.

Have a Crisis Communications Plan

While the news media is seeking softer, positive news stories to counterbalance the hard news reporting on the pandemic, it is also important to consider the importance of having a crisis communications plan in place. A crisis can be defined as any threat to your business’ operations, finances or reputation that has the potential for negative consequences if not managed properly. Creating a crisis communications plan helps minimize any negative impacts, so that your company can regain control of the conversation and ultimately protect your business and stakeholders from further backlash. A strong crisis communications plan that incorporates proactive PR responses will help your business confidently navigate through the coronavirus.

Flashback: In the days prior to COVID-19 and social distancing, we managed the event coordination & publicity for an event with Mark Wahlberg (and 2,000+ happy fans!) for our client @westfieldtru – We had a blast welcoming Mark and his crew to Connecticut’s first Wahlburgers!

Art of the Pitch

Considering the state of the world, it is critical to think through your news pitch. What is the angle or viewpoint you are bringing to the table? Focus on how your business can be of benefit to both the media outlet, and to their viewers/readers. 

Don’t forget to think outside the box when it comes to drafting your media pitch list, too. Beyond traditional broadcast and print outlets, there’s digital magazines, blogs, influencers and community groups to consider. Get creative with how you share your message!

Long Term Benefits

Pitching your business’ stories in the Connecticut media market has many long term benefits. You start to build relationships with the local reporters and journalists that cover your industry and local community. Your brand can authentically build a strong rapport with the public. Ultimately, this increases your overall brand awareness and engagement – potentially transforming into additional sales, leads, clients, etc. – positively impacting your bottom line. (Because isn’t that what we all want?)

Why You Should Contact Image Marketing Consultants

President Kate Terricciano is an expert when it comes to securing valuable PR coverage for her clients in Connecticut. If you’re seeing insufficient results from your marketing efforts, consider the value a strategic PR plan can bring to your company. Word-of-mouth and earned media coverage are great ways to generate brand awareness, and there’s no better time than the present to tell your company’s story. Contact us to see how public relations can benefit your CT company right now.

4 Simple Social Media Techniques to Attract New Leads

Most people look to social media to keep in touch with friends, find photo inspiration, and to stay on top of current trends and events. As a business, consumer engagement (likes, comments, shares) is likely the metric you track the most. However, it doesn’t only matter how many likes and comments you are receiving on your Instagram and Facebook posts.

An important question to ask is:
Are you generating actual sales or leads? While social media is primarily a tool for building brand equity and deepening relationships with your customers, it can actually be a great way to drive new business as well. Listed below are four simple tips to optimize your social media pages for maximum impact on your brand’s bottom line:

Optimize Your Profile

Optimizing your social media profile should be one of the first things you do when creating a page – whether it is for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, etc. Improving your social media profile will help build brand awareness and recognition, and it’s one of the easiest ways to make your business stand out. Below are a few tactics you can use to ensure your brand’s profile attracts potential customers.

Logo

Make sure the profile picture you use is your company’s logo or a branded image. This is the first visual customers will see on social media, so it is important they immediately recognize your account when searching for updates on your profile. 

Bio

Does your bio description accurately describe your company’s brand? Try to use as few words as possible, to keep it short, sweet, and relevant.

Link to Website & Other Pages

At Image Marketing, using a LinkTree in our Instagram profile is an effective way we’re able to include multiple pieces of content right in our bio.  This is especially important if you want to keep a link to your website in your bio at all times, while also directing social media users to additional information like blog articles, other social media websites, or product pages.

Use Hashtags

Just as you would hashtags in a social media post to be a part of trending conversations, you can also use hashtags in your profile. This is a great way to briefly describe your company’s page in just a few key hashtags. You can also add your company’s branded hashtag in your bio to share your community and encourage others to participate in it as well.

Use Paid Advertising

There are some initial strategies to think through before creating an Instagram or Facebook ad, or boosting a social media post:

  1. Know Your Audience

Make sure you have a specific and defined target audience. You should have a clear picture in mind of who the exact person is that you are targeting: what is their gender? Age? Hobbies? What other brands do they follow on social media? What is their profession, etc.?  Facebook and Instagram allow you to define these specific demographics and characteristics about your audience when creating any ad for smarter targeting.

  1. Look at Your Insights

Not sure where to start when it comes to defining a target audience? Facebook and Instagram make it easy with their business “Insights” page, where you’ll find analytics on the social media users visiting and interacting with your page. Staying up-to-date on your Insights page data can help give you a general idea of where most of your audience is located, their age, gender, when they’re likely to be online, and more. These key insights will not only help you come up with defined target audiences, but can also help develop your content calendar and posting schedule. 

  1. Set a Budget

Paid advertising on social media allows you to choose the budget you want to spend. With driving new business or lead generation as the goal, you’ll know your overall cost per lead (CPL), along with the bottom line revenue goal for your ad campaign. The question then becomes: “To generate $x in sales (or x new customers) this month, what budget do we need to spend on social media ads?” For example, if you spent $500 and acquired 25 new leads, your CPL is $20. Having a specific target audience will help keep your overall CPL low, and further maximize your overall campaign results.

Offer Incentives

Enter-to-win sweepstakes, product giveaways, and unique offer incentives are all great tactics for driving new leads to your social media pages, as it is standard practice to require someone to follow your page to be entered to win. At Image Marketing we typically recommend doing no more than one enter-to-win offer each month per platform, but it is a great way to incentivize potential new leads to follow your page and ultimately learn more about your business. 

Analyze Metrics

Analyzing your metrics is one of the most important steps to take when managing any brand’s social media pages. Knowing what posts received the most reach and engagement, as well as the types of profiles you are attracting to your page is valuable intel. Understanding what works and what doesn’t helps as you continue to build out engaging content.

Ask yourself some of these questions:


Is my social media page’s tone of voice and aesthetic conveying the brand image I want to promote?

Am I attracting the right target audience, or do I need to change the type of the content I am generating?

Are images or videos working better?

Am I gaining or losing followers every month?

Have I generated any leads by promoting my company on social media?

Having trouble accomplishing all of this on your own? Head to Image Marketing Consultants, and let the experts help generate leads for you on social media! The team at Image Marketing Consultants includes expert social media content creators, skilled at crafting engaging content for any business.

Join Our Team: Image Marketing is Looking for a Social Content Creator

Good news: the Image Marketing Consultants team continues to grow! We’re currently looking to hire a full-time social content creator. Interested applicants can apply by sending a resume and examples of previous work to info@imagemarketingconsultants.com.

About the Job

Image Marketing Consultants seeks a full-time social content manager to join our Southington-based agency team. The ideal candidate will be driven and looking to lead the creative process of original content creation for a variety of clients, primarily with a focus on the shopping center/retail industry. 

Strong visual and writing skills and a sharp editorial eye are required, as is a deep understanding and love for the evolving world of social and digital media. The ability to work creatively with both our internal team and external clients to lead the ideation process of content production is key for this role. This position will report to the Director of Client Services and will work closely with the Social Media Account management team. 

Who You Are

  • You have 2+ years experience creating digital content, ideally growing and managing multiple social channels either as an independent influencer or for a brand.
  • You are a content creator at heart with stellar copywriting skills, a knack for storytelling, and a talent for producing stunning visual content.
  • You know how to create high-quality content in a variety of formats from photo imagery to graphics, GIFs, video and more.
  • You have a passion for all things fashion and lifestyle, and preferably some experience working in the retail/shopping center space.
  • You live and breathe social media. You’re up to date the latest social trends and best practices, you’re the first to test out new platforms and features when they launch, and you follow best-in class brands to stay inspired.
  • You understand how to connect with an audience, using data to help shape strategy and deliver more of what your audience wants.
  • You’re a highly organized, self-starter who can manage projects independently from end to end.
  • You’re comfortable working at a very fast pace, have a collaborative attitude, and enjoy wearing many hats.
  • You’re an excellent written and verbal communicator who presents ideas clearly, concisely and with context.
  • You maintain high standards in every aspect of your work and continually raise the bar.
  • You are highly creative and full of ideas, with a good balance of strategic thinking.

What You’ll Do

  • Develop and execute our organic social content strategies for clients (primarily Instagram and Facebook accounts in the shopping center industry) to drive brand awareness, audience growth, traffic, and sales.
  • Partner with clients and our internal social team to develop overall content strategies and KPI’s, with a focus on driving brand awareness, audience growth and engagement
  • In partnership with clients and our internal social account managers, play an active role in the day-to-day social media planning and execution including copywriting, curating UGC, and creation of unique content
  • Create engaging, on-brand content with a consistent aesthetic that is tailored to each channel in a variety of formats from photo imagery to graphics, GIFs, video and more.
  • Analyze content performance and make adjustments and recommendations for improvement based on data.
  • Consistently find new ways to engage and delight our clients’ social audiences while sharing each brand’s core marketing messages in an organic way.

Think you’re the right fit? Please send your resume and examples of previous work to: info@imagemarketingconsultants.com 

Top Strategies to Include in Your Post Covid-19 Reopening Communication Plan

Top Strategies to Include in Your Post Covid-19 Reopening Communication Plan

As a phased approach to reopening businesses continues across the country, it’s undeniable that we are all adjusting to a new normal. Businesses are welcoming back customers as they reopen their doors to the public, and many of us are transitioning from sweatpants and Zoom calls at home, to business attire and real-life face time with our colleagues in the office. 

With social distancing, cleaning protocols, and overall safety messaging remaining top-of-mind for everyone, it is important to have a strategy in place for reopening safely post Covid-19. It is equally important to effectively communicate this plan to your employees, customers, and potential new clients. 

From one-million+ square-foot shopping centers to solo-preneur operations, Image Marketing has assisted our diverse roster of clients (each with their own unique needs and Covid-related obstacles!) in developing strong reopening communication strategies. Along the way, we’ve collected some key takeaways and learnings.

Check out our top strategies to include in your post Covid-19 reopening communication plan below:

Be Proactive

Once you come up with a plan for re-opening, be open to communicating that plan with the public and your clients before you start to open up your doors. This can help ease tension as clients and customers may be questioning whether or not they are comfortable returning to your business, and want to know what that initial first visit back will entail. Make sure your communication is as detailed and specific as possible (Is there a new waiting room process? Are face masks required? Have business hours changed? How are you increasing your cleaning procedures?)  

When it comes to modes of communication, you likely know your customer best. If you have an active social media presence, sharing your communication plan on your social media accounts is an easy and effective way to proactively share your reopening plans, and respond back to any questions. For other businesses, a personalized email campaign or direct mail piece can go a long way in making everyone feel safe and welcomed back. 

For many of Image Marketing’s shopping center clients, it was important to gain greater exposure for their reopening plans, and so a full PR and media strategy was key. Our team proactively reached out and hosted preview events with local media in each market to discuss reopening plans and make the community feel safe and ready to return to the shopping center.

Stay Up To Date & Flexible

This might be a given, but it is incredibly important that you stay up-to-date with the guidance provided by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). You can follow each on social media for quick reads, or easy follow along videos. Additionally, tune into what policies your local government has issued for businesses to reopen. Remain flexible, as given the nature of the pandemic. It is entirely possible that as soon as your reopening strategy is in place, your plan (and any corresponding communication plans) may need to pivot. Staying up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news in your area will make it easier to shift your reopening strategy as needed.  

Reach Out Regularly

While we may all be a little tired of hearing phrases like “unprecedented times” and the “new normal,” there truly is no guidebook for navigating this time of uncertainty. Because we’re all experiencing this phased reopening process for the first time together, consistent communication is extremely important. Don’t just share your reopening plans and procedures once; continue providing updates and commit to open, transparent communication with your employees, clients, vendors, customers, etc. about your reopening plans. With so much uncertainty, everyone will appreciate upfront and honest communication. It often takes repetition for customers to remember – and believe in – your messaging. 

Digital marketing tools like social media and email newsletters are resourceful ways to communicate regularly with your audience. Along with utilizing these outlets to communicate pertinent information, you can also layer in your company’s unique tone of voice and branding. Regular communicating will showcase that your business is still operating, and it can also be done in a way that feels authentic to our brand.

Leave it to the Professionals

If your business is still struggling with finding the right words and the right ways to say them, feel free to get in touch with Image Marketing Consultants. Our PR and Crisis Management specialists are here to help navigate through your post Covid-19 reopening communication plans. It’s a challenging time, but with a little creativity your business can be well positioned to thrive!

What You Need to Know About Instagram’s New Algorithm In 2020

What You Need to Know About Instagram’s New Algorithm In 2020

~ And we’re sharing the new feature Instagram just came out with below! ~

You keep posting on your Instagram, in hopes of gaining more followers. 

It’s not working.

You continue to update your stories, change your aesthetic, and you are not getting the engagement you were in hopes of.

That is where Instagram’s algorithm comes in. There are many rumors about Instagram’s methods for determining what posts are shown at the top of the feed, but check the facts below for actionable tips to finally gain the followers you’ve been looking for.

#1 What You See, Is Based On You

Ever wonder why all of the Instagram posts in your feed seem kind of similar? Or why you tend to only see posts from the same small percentage of accounts you follow? This is because Instagram uses AI driven data to feed you what they think you want to see. The images and videos you see on your Instagram feed are based on similar posts that you have previously liked, engaged with, or have searched hashtags for. Instagram is providing each user with a personalized experience based upon these behaviors. This makes it all the more important to post consistent, high quality content your audience actually wants to see.

#2 Engagement On Your Posts Matters

The amount of likes, comments, shares and views your posts are getting will impact your feed’s ranking, and a post ‘reshare’ can be considered as the gold star of all engagement metrics. A post reshare is when another user shares your post on their feed or Instagram story. This will not only increase your post’s overall views, but will also increase your post rankings, and continue to prioritize your posts more often on users’ feeds.

However, while engagement is essential, don’t get caught with Instagram bots, or fake interactions. Instagram’s data can pick up on accounts that do not show transparency, or buy fake followers – affecting your ranking accordingly.

Tip: Don’t forget to check your insights. Find out times when your audience is on Instagram to know when to post to get the most reach. This will put your content at the top of their screen.

#3 What Gets More Reach – Images or Videos?

Remember the times when Instagram posts were purely images? This was back before Instagram added video posts in the year 2013. Now as content creators, how do you decide if you should stick to images, or start getting more creative and post videos as well? While Instagram has commented that photos and videos are treated equally, the Instagram Explore page says differently. Videos get way more attraction on everyone’s Explore page. Part of this is just human nature; video is inherently more eye-catching than picture-based posts. This is incredibly important if you are looking to gain more followers. Since videos have more viewing time too, mix up your content with video-based posts and allow the Instagram AI formula to work its magic to start posting more of your content to other people’s Explore pages.

The Newest Instagram Feature

This is probably what you wanted to read about all along: the new feature that Instagram just came out with: Instagram Messenger Rooms are here! You can now video chat with up to 50 people through the Instagram Direct page in the app.

Photo from Techcrunch

With every like, comment, and interaction you have over Instagram, you are part of the population that determines how Instagram sets up its algorithm. This is to create the best personalized experience for each user.

With this in mind, now is the time for you to start creating the best personalized experience for your followers. Still feeling overwhelmed? Get in touch with us at info@imagemarketingconsultants.com. It’s time to put your Image at the top of the feed.

Source: Later