How to Use TikTok to Promote Your Business

How to Use TikTok to Promote Your Business

TikTok is trending! With a global mission of inspiring creativity and spreading joy, the app has accumulated over 800 million active users since it launched in September of 2016. While TikTok may be best known for its viral dance videos created by popular creators like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae, dance routines and lip synching are far from the only types of content you’ll find on the app. In fact, Tik Tok recently launched TikTok For Business to assist brands of all sizes “unleash their creative side.”

 When it comes to creative content and brand storytelling, TikTok is the top platform of the moment.  A simple 15-60 second video can be all it takes for your business to grow your audience and make real connections with both brand loyalists and potential new customers.  62% of TikTok users in the U.S. are under the age of 30, which also presents a unique opportunity to connect with young consumers. As the app continues to grow in popularity, it’s creators are increasingly diverse as well and include parents, teachers, politicians, high schools, universities, small businesses and major corporations. They all use the platform for the purpose of increasing engagement, sharing their ideas, products and opinions and creating content their target market can relate to and enjoy.

The app also allows for you to interact with your audience in all new ways. You can “duet” videos, comment, direct message, run contests, challenges and promotions, and use influencer marketing to spread your message.

Check out some success stories from large and small businesses that used TikTok to connect with audiences in unique and creative ways:

Success Stories

Universal PicturesThe film studio uses the platform as a way to promote upcoming movies and engage with American users. They launched a branded hashtag challenge themed #FindYourMagic,resulting in over 19K user-generated videos. The company also utilizes influencer marketing, working with 10 popular creators to post “magical stories” using magic tricks and illusions. To date this content has received over 1.3 million likes! Universal Pictures also grew more than 11K official account followers in just six days.

Clean & ClearWhile launching their limited-edition face wash in India, Clean & Clear  took to TikTok to help increase brand and product awareness. Their target market was female teens across India, and they started a #UnbottleApnaSwag challenge that invited girls to engage with the brand and show off their diverse personalities. They featured five bottle packaging styles that correspond with five personality traits. They enlisted five of the top female influencers to help spearhead the challenge and inspire participation. As a result, the campaign received more than 1.96 billion video views, 2.62 million user-generated videos, and Clean & Clear gained more than 10.4K followers. 

Popcorn Friday – In the midst of the pandemic, small businesses felt the blow to business more than most. Owned and run by the Scrubb family, Popcorn Friday is a small popcorn shop located in Spring Branch, Texas. Natalie Scrubb, seeing her family’s business struggling, seized the opportunity to help by creating a TikTok video showing off their business and their products. The video reached 1.5 million viewers! After that online orders started flooding in from all over the country. The business had an increase in sales in the thousand-percents.

Conclusion

Regardless of the size of your business and no matter what you sell, TikTok can help your brand get noticed. All it takes is a camera and a little creativity. Not sure where to start? Contact us today for help developing your own TikTok social media strategy. 

Top 10 Fall Styles You Can Expect to See in 2020

Top 10 Fall Styles You Can Expect to See in 2020

The crisp autumn air, pumpkin spice lattes, and apple cider donuts are starting to make their annual comeback. Summer may be coming to a close, but the good news is that with a new season comes new fashion trends to look forward to. 

As anyone who was asked, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” back in 2015 can attest to, 2020 isn’t what anyone expected it to be!  While the coronavirus pandemic continues to play out, the uncertainty in what the fall will bring hasn’t stopped designers from putting a new spin on your favorite fall wardrobe essentials – and then some. Fashion designers put their best fall booties forward, and discussed upcoming fall fashion trends via Zoom.

The Image Marketing team works with copious amounts of shopping centers around the United States, so it’s safe to say we have a solid idea as to what trends you can expect to see popping up on store shelves (and also appearing in your Instagram feed!) Our team came up with the 10 most trending styles to shop for this fall. Whether you are heading into the office, or just dressing up for your weekly Zoom meetings, there’s no reason why you can’t stay up-to-date on the latest fall fashion trends.

Want a sneak peek at what styles will be taking over your Instagram feed in the coming months? Check out the top 10 fall fashion trends for 2020 below:

1. Sheer Fabrics

LULUS –

Queen of Drama Black Organza Puff Sleeve Bodysuit

REVOLVE – 

Safari Sheer Wrap Top

H&M –

Puff-sleeved Mesh Dress

Sheer, skin-fabrics have been huge this past spring and summer, and the trend isn’t going anywhere for fall. You’ll find lots of sheer blouses and dresses;  The key to making this trend work for the autumn is layering: use sheer as an overlay to add dimensional layers to your outfits.

2. Faux Fur

H&M –

Teddy Bear Coat

FREE PEOPLE –

Tessa Teddy Coat

Ditch your basic fall coat, because faux fur is in! The trick to making faux fur on-trend for 2020 is juxtaposing its luxuriousness with your casual basics. Thinking about just wearing jeans and a basic, solid-colored top? Throw on a funky coat to dress it up!

3. Cropped Blazers

ASOS –

Weekday Dominique cropped blazer in khaki

ZARA – 

Short-Sleeve Blazer

Step up your office (or Zoom) meeting apparel with cropped blazers! It is an easy way to look polished in an instant.

4. Metallic / Sequins

NORDSTROM –

 Ramy Brook Rumi Metallic Wrap Front Top

ALO YOGA-

High-Waisted Glitter Biker Short

Looking to stand out from the crowd? Metallic and sequins will have you shining. Instead of waiting for the holidays to bring out your shimmery clothes, find metallic as your everyday wear. Check out Alo Yoga’s shimmery biker shorts!

5. Animal Print

FREE PEOPLE –

Nala Jacquard Hoodie

FRANCESCA’S –

Qupid Animal Print Accent Bootie

Animal prints have been a top trend for a few seasons now, and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon! Expect anything from cheetah to snake prints, and even crocodile print for this fall. Make a statement in cute and comfy fall sweaters with your favorite animal print.

6. Fringe

URBAN OUTFITTERS –

Schott Leather Fringe Moto Jacket

As seen on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, Rihanna seems to be all on board with the fringe trend this season.  (Expect to see deep yellow fashions this fall too!)

7. Prep

URBAN OUTFITTERS –

Cooperative Side-Pocket Mini Skirt

URBAN OUTFITTERS –

Daisy Street Plaid Pleated Mini Skirt

Channel your inner Blair Waldorf and embrace all-things preppy this fall season! Look for lots of plaid skirts and polished outfits.

8. Neutral Tones

MADEWELL –

Polo Sweater

TOPSHOP –

Ecru PU Shirt Dress

Expect to see fifty shades of neutral colors coming your way. Tans, beiges, browns – all of the basic autumn colors to accompany any skin tone.

9. Chunky Headbands

LULUS –

Crazy for You Pink and Pearl Braided Headband

J.CREW – 

Turban knot headband in plaid wool

Chunky and padded headbands have seen a +14,100% increase in 2020 alone! Watch for unique headbands with sequins, patterns, braids and especially pearls. Wear your favorite bold headband this fall to accessorize any outfit with ease!

10. Patterned Face Masks

AMERICAN EAGLE –

 AEO Bandana Mask + Scrunchie

NATALIE MILLS –

Destiny Crystal Face Mask

Let’s ‘face’ it, there’s still a pandemic circling in the air. However, this doesn’t mean we can’t turn health and safety standards into a fashion statement! Shop American Eagle Outfitters matching face mask and scrunchie set, or Natalie Mill’s crystal mask collection. 

Interested in Becoming a Graphic Designer? Here’s What It Takes:

Interested in Becoming a Graphic Designer? Here’s What It Takes:

Ever think about the creativity behind all of the billboards, signs in shopping malls, or even the copious amounts of digital advertisements you see daily? Next time you’re out, take a look around. While you may think about how simple they can seem from the outside, there’s a lot of in-depth creativity and development behind-the-scenes. Take our two amazing graphic designers for instance: Ross Culliton and Loring Casarotto. Both of them started loving creativity and art at a young age and have a HUGE passion for coffee. However, our graphic designers understand the importance of strategy, and switching up a design when creating it to make sure all of the pieces fit together.. as well as having an ecstatic and thrilled client!

Keep reading to find out what it takes to be a graphic designer, and the best Spotify playlists to listen to to get in your creative zone!

A simple, yet effective graphic design that Ross created for our client Centennial, a retail development and management company. Image Marketing builds the social media presence for ten shopping centers, and creates fun and vivid designs for them!

A Day in the Life of Our Graphic Designers:

How do you start your mornings?

Ross:

COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE. An iced almond milk latte to be specific and for those wondering what to bring to our next meeting or to win my heart 🙂 

Loring:
This will come as a total shock to most,  I’m sure, but I can’t start the day without a giant iced coffee.

Why did you choose graphic design as your career? Did something or someone inspire you?

Ross:

Ever since I was little I was always curious about what it was like to create all the ads we would see on TV, in magazines, and around town. Being part of that strategy and creative development is what drives my passion to create unique and inspiring projects.

Loring:
I’ve always been a creative person who liked to draw, and when I was growing up I wanted to be an artist. When I was in highschool, a family member suggested I take his Intro to  Adobe Illustrator class, which exposed me to the world of digital design.

What’s your go-to song selection to listen to while you’re creating designs?

Ross: 

This is ever evolving for me. I usually have an ongoing playlist that evolves and grows as the weeks pass.. Usually at the beginning of a new season I start fresh and discover new music that will inspire my work. Currently I am between two playlists that I have made. Each have an eclectic mix of songs from all different genres. 

Here are links to the playlists: 

Social Iso Party: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0s9uo15LCJGlgbQmqgn1oj?si=ePsi227ISV62GW0Jb9gi_A

Summer 2020

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1EtPbS51XV56OtGZdw9Kk4?si=WV06qdu7QF2kgPjArrn6Fg

Loring:
This is a tough one. Thanks to COVID my music streaming habits have increased about 10 fold and my favorites span almost every genre; but if I was to make a top 5 “on repeat” list, it’d probably look like this (in no particular order):
1) Icarus (Automatic Mix) by Nigel Stanford
2) Twilight of the Thunder God by Amon Amarth
3) Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
4) Robot Stop by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
5) Serenity (Andrew Rayel Aether Remix) by Armin Van Buuren
(I couldn’t stop at 5)
6) Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs
7) The Ageless Whisper by Soilwork

How do you get through challenging times at work?

Ross:

The toughest times for me are when the creativity is not flowing as strongly as usual. To get back into that flow I keep myself extra observant of the things around me to create new inspirations. Whether that is watching creative films, discovering new trends in design or just absorbing everything that is around me, I can be sure to find myself with new sparks of creativity. 

However, sometimes all it takes is taking a step back and watching something that will make me laugh like Schitt’s Creek. Guaranteed LOLs everytime. 

Loring:
Throw on some headphones, grab my coffee, focus up and hunker down. 

Is there a specific ‘aesthetic’ you lean towards?

Ross:

My overall mantra in my work is discovering how to share as much information as possible in the most simplistic way. Lately I have been keeping my designs bold, colorful and minimal. 

Loring:
Recently I’ve been using a lot of  color in my designs, and pushing towards a cleaner overall look with more white space. 

A billboard graphic created for our client, Connecticut Credit Union League, for Financial First Responders Day.

What advice would you give to those pursuing a career in graphic design?

Ross:

Train yourself to be able to look at things at multiple angles/perspectives. Don’t allow yourself to get into a wormhole of just one idea. There are many directions to take for just one project but you won’t know which is the best until you try them all out. Be patient and allow yourself to discover that creative perfection. It is truly one of the best feelings in this line of work when your work  just clicked into place and all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

Loring:
Always be experimenting, especially when you’re in school. Challenge yourself to do different things on every project and don’t use the same things that worked previously. Play with texture, shapes, color, fonts, etc. Whenever you see cool designs out “in the wild” like magazines and websites, try to figure out how it was done, or pick something about it you really like and use it in a project of your own.

Share one of your favorite designs:

Ross:

The favorite question for me on any topic is never an easy question for me to answer. It is forever changing depending on my mood, especially when it comes to food. Current projects I am working on often are my favorite since they are in the forefront of my mind and where I am channeling my creativity.  However I do have a type of work that is my favorite. 

Large format print projects have always been a favorite of mine. From the larger than life  murals I have done at Wells Fargo across the country (Example) or the recent installation of  the CT Post Thank You to the Superheros banners (video: https://vimeo.com/441077378) is just a range of examples. Thinking  of how it will interact in the environment the work will be displayed in and the impact it will have on people viewing it creates an extra level of inspiration for me in my work that translates into the final product.

Ross’s graphic design mural for Wells Fargo.

Loring:
I don’t have a specific design by someone else, but I wanted to mention the branding stuff that we’ve done for ASG Information Technologies. We did a complete branding overhaul for them and I’m very proud of how all of that came out. 

A preview of the website design created by Loring and Ross. Check the full view out at ASG Information Technologies.

Our graphic design team at Image Marketing Consultants are always fun to work with! They assist other team members, like our social media and public relations team, with any creative graphic design needs for clients.

Want to learn more about our graphic designers? Visit us at ImageMarketingConsultants.com, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

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.

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