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Small Business Social Media Strategy for the New Year

by Drew Henry | Copywriter

There was a time not too long ago that any small business could post something on Facebook and trust that those posts would be seen by potential customers. Channels like Facebook and Twitter are constantly changing the way people see and interact with posts. And trying to keep up can add to the stresses already faced by small business owners. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming.

Here are some social media strategies small businesses should be thinking about in the coming year:

Social media networks are increasingly prioritizing visual content

As the majority of social networks continue to prioritize mobile usage, eye-catching visuals have become increasingly important in engaging users as they scroll quickly through social feeds. We create custom imagery that gets seen on social and reinforces client branding.

Quantifiable measurement of impact using analytical tools

We use the most recent analytical tools to measure impact across social media channels, and study the underlying algorithms that manage the hows, whens, and whys different posts reach the best audience possible, and study those analytics to build on successes and modify failures. We also utilize email marketing, paid ad placements, and paid post boosts, and measure how those factors all contribute to the success of not just your social media presence, but your overall business goals.

Understanding each social media platform’s native offerings

Every social media platform has a built-in means of rewarding certain posts based on metrics such as page views or shares. Each network will show that content in a more featured way because it “appreciates” when you use its native tools. We keep up with these tools so that we’re always helping our clients stay ahead of the curve.

Let your audience work for you

Getting the right people to share and interact with your posts can be tough. We measure which of your social media followers has the biggest influence on their social circles and consider how these “social influencers” can fit in and create their own content around your brand.

Remove the added stress

You know the importance of social media for your business. But unless you’re a marketing firm yourself, you just may not have the time to learn all the nuances that go into marketing on social channels. Creative Distillery removes that added stress by managing your social media presence so you can save headspace for running your business.

Photo by Bench Accounting

Creative Distillery has the expertise to manage all of the strategies necessary to build success for businesses so you can get back to work. Contact us about your project!

The 2nd Annual Creative Distillery 30-Day Photo Challenge

by Gillian Burgess | Co-founding Partner

Last summer, Creative Distillery hosted our very first 30-Day Photo Challenge - crafting a list of daily themes and asking people to share their photos with us on Instagram. We were thrilled to have more than 60 participants join us from around the world, and we were inspired by the 1300+ photos you all shared with us. It’s that time of year again, and we are ready for round two. We are kicking off our second annual 30-Day Photo Challenge with a new list - we hope you’ll join us! 30-Day Photo Challenge 2014 Challenge rules Creative Distillery on Facebook Creative Distillery on Instagram

Read the case study of last year's 30-Day Photo Challenge.

Congrats to the Winner of the 30-Day Photo Challenge

by Gillian Burgess | Co-founding Partner

The last month went by in a blur of fantastic photos. We finished up the Creative Distillery 30-Day Photo Challenge yesterday, and we were thrilled to see posts from around the world - from Zurich to Jackson, Oakland to New York. The photographers who completed all 30 days of the challenge were entered into a random drawing for a $25 Fab.com gift card.

photo challenge winner

Thank you to everyone who participated! Your creativity made this challenge a blast, and we hope you had fun. With this kind of turnout, we might have to make this a regular event. Any ideas for themes you’d like to see the next time around? Feel free to email them to us.

Why My Pinterest Addiction is Actually Good Branding

by Gillian Burgess | Co-founding Partner

I resisted joining Pinterest for a full six months before I realized the struggle was futile. I gave in last month and created an account, then watched as hours of my life sped away as I pinned and pinned like a crazy online hoarder. In case you haven’t gotten sucked in yet, Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard” that allows you to collect and share photos of your interests and easily browse pins from friends and strangers. It’s a visual sugar rush and incredibly addictive. Creative ideas for art and design projects! Recipes to make! Travel destinations I want to visit! Yes, give me more! {title} This is in my living room. Am I surprised I love Pinterest?

Pinterest Benefits for Individuals

I’m not the only one who is hooked. Fast Company published an article last week called “Why Pinterest is so Addictive.” It includes a great quote from Dr. Christopher Long, a professor at Ouachita Baptist University teaching a course in consumer psychology:
Pinterest boards are like its users’ personal happiness collages. [They represent] things that I appreciate, that I desire, and that express who I am, whether the things are cupcakes, shirtless David Beckham, or an inspirational quotation... Pinterest is a place where we can demonstrate: ‘If it weren’t for all those mundane things that I do that I post on Facebook, this is what I would be doing and consuming. Here is my real self.
I agree. Even though I have to be careful that Pinterest doesn’t become a serious procrastination outlet, I find that spending time pinning photos that make me happy has been personally fulfilling. Some of my pins have even inspired me to try a handful of new recipes and experiment with fashion more.

Pinterest Benefits for Brands

Joining Pinterest has been positive for my own enjoyment and personal development, but it’s also been an interesting branding activity for all of us at Creative Distillery. We started a Creative Distillery profile, and we have been having fun adding pins to boards with themes including creative inspiration, food, office designs and our own work. Melia, Darren and I also each have our own individual boards where we can pin whatever strikes our fancy. We’re still new to this Pinterest phenomenon, but these are my initial observations from a branding point of view: 1. It’s inspiring. There are some wonderful and creative people out in the world, and seeing what they are doing is a catalyst for our own work. I love coming across a poster or a DIY project or a photograph and thinking, “That’s awesome! I wish I’d thought of that.” It sparks my desire to keep pushing myself to do better work. 2. It’s fun. Developing a Pinterest profile is a good way to show the people behind the brand. It lets us share our own interests, quirks and personalities, and it’s fun to interact with other individuals and companies. 3. It can drive web traffic. We’re careful not to make our Pinterest boards all about our own work (no one likes that guy who won’t stop talking about himself at a cocktail party), but when we do pin photos from our website, each one links back to the source. If someone likes one of our pins and repins it to her own board, other people will see it and may be encouraged to click back to our site. Brands are paying more attention to Pinterest because the social network’s basic purpose is to share content. Real Simple, one of my favorite magazines, had more referral traffic from Pinterest than from Facebook in October 2011. Have you started using Pinterest for personal or business use yet? What do you think?

Keep up with us on Pinterest: Creative Distillery, Gillian, Melia and Darren.

5 Ways to Build Loyalty Through Brand Touchpoints

by Darren Schwindaman | Principal / Designer

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1. Retail Products

Yesterday, I was in line at McDade's grocery in Fondren and noticed a line of sauces and dressings from Georgia Blue, a local Madison, Mississippi restaurant. (Georgia Blue isn't a client of ours.) Seeing the sauce gave me the impression that Georgia Blue has a unique perspective on its sauces. As a diner, I look for restaurants to have a unique point of view, so seeing the sauces (whether I buy them or not) has increased the standing of the Georgia Blue brand in my eyes.

The Takeaway: Consider the opportunities out there to extend your brand into a retail product. For example, if you're a spa, you could come out with your own label of skincare products. With white label manufacturing, it's cheaper than you'd think.

2. Restaurant To-Go Box

Speaking of restaurants, one of the biggest branding opportunities restaurants miss is the to-go box. Consider every pair of eyes that might see your to-go box sitting in the office fridge. Those are all opportunities for new touchpoints for your brand, and communicate the brand points that: 1) you serve large portions, and 2) your food's good enough to take home and eat for leftovers.

The Takeaway: At least stick a logo on that thing! However, consider the opportunities to really communicate unique selling points and personality to make your restaurant unforgettable.

3. Mailing Materials

Our friends at Nuts.com recently asked us to redesign some of their shipping boxes. Not only does the box have all the requisite space for the logo and shipping labels, but we worked to make each side of the box show a little bit of the brand's trademark nutty humor. We even included a thank you message from the family's nutty cartoon characters on the bottom. While everyone might not see it, those that do will have a delightful experience.

The Takeaway: Take routine experiences for your customers and make them delightful in a way that speaks to the soul of your brand. They'll remember and love you for it.

4. Custom T-Shirts

Our neighbors downstairs from our office, Broad Street Bakery, have been selling clever t-shirts about bread for years. I'm sure they don't mind customers walking around with the logo, but more importantly, phrases like "Challah Back Girl" remind you that Broad Street is your destination in Jackson for unique house-made bread, reinforcing their positive brand points.

At Cups Espresso Cafe, they have new t-shirts designed exclusively by Cups baristas. Cups baristas tend to be talented artists outside of coffee, and their unique perspective and authenticity is a big part of the Cups experience. The t-shirts are a great avenue for Cups to share their baristas' talent with customers.

The Takeaway: Consider what personality traits of your brand can be expressed through a t-shirt design. More than just showing off your logo, consider how to make the shirt unique, fashionable and memorable.

5. Business Blog

Business blogs serve a whole host of functions. It gives partners (like me) an outlet to write so that readers can connect with me and trust my expertise. Each post goes out into the search engine world and can be indexed and found by people who might not visit your homepage. For example, on our own blog, a review I did about collaboration software Minigroup still sends new visitors to the site each month. Our analytics show that those visitors go on to look at other pages on the site.

We like business blogs best when they communicate a personalty that complements the business' offerings, which leads to a fuller understanding of the brand. One of our busiest offerings is writing content for clients' business blogs, weaving in an editorial-style approach with search engine optimization to provide the most bang for the buck from the blog.

The Takeaway: Incorporate a blog into your business' web presence, whether you do it yourself or contract writers to manage it for you. The benefits will come from returning readership, a more coherent personality for your brand, and the SEO bump.

Let us help you create new brand touchpoints for your business. The more unique experience we can create for your customers, the more your brand will become unforgettable to them. Contact us for a consultation today.

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