4 Key Elements of Event Marketing

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Event marketing is becoming an increasingly popular component of PR campaigns. Live events enable in-person interaction and feedback between businesses and customers who, in turn, can try out potential products first hand and post about their experience in real-time via social media.

PR teams are increasingly being called upon to help in all aspects of event marketing, from initial planning and invitation distribution to providing on-site support and building online hype. Cover your bases ahead of your next event by knocking these four key elements out of the park. The result will be a successful event that your brand can build upon.

Traditional PR

Writing a press release for an upcoming event and publishing it on a news wire seems basic, but it does the job of spreading the word. Reaching out to relevant reporters and inviting them to cover the event is also important, as well as adding events to local online calendars, event round-ups, and daily newsletters.

Design

A simple tool like Canva is perfect for designing an eye-popping invitation or event poster, ensuring that it captures your business’ brand elements and voice. Designing can also include advising on the overall flow and vibe of the event. If there’s food, should it be a buffet or passed hors d'oeuvres? Are talking points needed for a speech? You should be in full event planner mode and consider any logistical details needed on-site in advance of the event.

Social Media

Posting across social media channels ahead of an event as well as live posting to your accounts not only shares details but lets attendees know what hashtag to use and which social media handle to tag during the event. Creating a Facebook event page is also a way to gauge interest and expected attendance if there isn’t a formal RSVP process. The event page can also serve as a sounding board for potential guests to reach out with questions.

Influencer Marketing

Oftentimes influencers themselves can be guests of an event. Even if they are, partnering with a relevant influencer to promote an event is a great option. It increases awareness of your brand to a highly-focused niche audience that you already know will be interested in your business.

Ready to plan and execute the next big event for your business? Let us help! Contact the Social Ape Marketing team today to get started.

4 Tools For Building Facebook Messenger Bots

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So, what exactly are messenger chatbots? Chatbots are a simple form of artificial intelligence that you can interact with via a messenger app. But don't let that intimidate you! With the right tools, chatbots are super easy to create and are a powerful way to generate more leads and sales online.

Facebook Messenger Platform

Did you know 64% of people are messaging more through Facebook Messenger than they did two years ago? Well, now you can start building your own bot directly through the platform’s landing page. The Messenger Platform allows businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content, and interactive experiences. This feature gives bots the ability to make contextual content suggestions based on the conversation. The option appears in Messenger once user has interacted with the bot.

Chatfuel

Chatfuel is a do-it-yourself solution that gives anyone the ability to build a full-featured chatbot for Facebook Messenger in a matter of minutes. Using a simple drag-and-drop interface you can start experimenting with your own bot and become an expert at it within a very short time. 

You can use Chatfuel to create any conversational experience in Facebook Messenger. Think of personalized content delivery, marketing, e-commerce, and trivia! 

To give you some ideas, take a look through this list for examples of chatbot experiences built on Chatfuel (it’s best to use a mobile phone with Facebook Messenger application to try them out).

ManyChat

Manychat allows you to instantly chat with your target audience in real-time. Automatically send messages, videos, audio files, links, content, and replies to collect relevant information so you can provide excellent customer service and close sales faster. Check out their handy guide on messenger marketing and automation with ManyChat chatbots.

OnSequel

This tool helps you build chatbots for apps like Messenger and Telegram, and it's quite easy to learn. Because you don't even need any coding knowledge, it’s quite easy to learn. Answer a few questions and a bot will generated automatically. Choose from easy-to-use templates for sharing blog content, Facebook Stories, interactive games, and quizzes.

How to Crush Your Next Influencer Marketing Campaign

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Influencer marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular and effective methods for brands to reach a large, highly-focused audience and increase awareness about their products and services. As additional data is published on the success of these kinds of partnerships, more executives are putting marketing spend towards creative collaborations with influencers.

To take an influencer marketing campaign from A to Z and to do it well, follow these four steps to keep your eyes on the prize.

Set Clear Campaign Goals

What does this particular project aim to do? Is your brand focused on using this campaign to build awareness of your product or service, or are you set on driving website or foot traffic? Consider revenue. Is this your number one goal? Ultimately, your endgame will affect several key factors as you map out your next steps — budget, partners, marketing materials, etc.

Target the Right Partners

When harnessed properly, influencer collaborations can allow you to get in front of a highly-focused niche audience. Take it back to Marketing 101. Who is your ideal customer? What is their demographic? What other brands are they buying? Start there. If you’re focused on driving the sale of outdoor power tools, chances are you don’t want to waste time reaching out to foodies or fashionistas. Focus on identifying the movers and shakers in DIY, home renovation, and woodworking.

Be Clear in Your Ask

Upon beginning outreach to potential partners, take time to craft clear, concise messaging that makes it totally black and white when it comes to what you’re looking for. How can this engagement be mutually beneficial for both your company or brand and the influencer? How will you achieve it? What are your expectations as far as photography, content, and timing? If your messaging is muddled, there can be a lot of time wasted in unnecessary back-and-forth. Be efficient.

Engage, Engage, Engage

From start to finish, make it clear to influencers that you’re excited about any and all collaborative efforts. At the end of the day, you absolutely should be! Be genuine and intentional about every piece of communication. Authenticity is key during all stages — outreach, follow up, and even when resharing the user-generated content. Reposting content (per your contractual terms) is encouraged!

Did we miss something? Let us know or reach out if you’re interested in learning more about kickstarting your next influencer campaign. Contact us here.

These 6 Podcasts Have Taught Me A Lot About Business & Marketing

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As podcasts continue to gain popularity within mainstream media, I find myself discovering an abundance of podcasts that are incredibly helpful as a business owner and marketer. Even though these podcasts are valuable and you’re sure to learn something from each episode, they’re also unique and enjoyable to the average listener.

Planet Money

Not into economics? No worries. You’ll still love this podcast. (The episodes are actually radio episodes from NPR’s Planet Money show repurposed as a podcast.) Planet Money breaks down simple economic issues in a way that is understandable and interesting. Most of the stories can easily be applied to business or marketing as well.

My favorite episode is titled “Why the Price of Coke Didn’t Change for 70 Years.” It’s an incredible story (that I assume most people don’t know) about how Coca Cola struggled to increase the price of a glass Coke bottle from 5 cents for seven decades. Listen to it here.

How I Built This

How I Built This is sure to be one of the most popular business podcasts to date. Also an NPR podcast, HIBT is hosted by Guy Raz, who is a phenomenal interviewer. These episodes are about an hour long each and provide insight into the minds of some of the world’s greatest business leaders. Each interview dives into the personal background of each interviewee and tells the story and struggles of companies like Five Guys Burgers, Spanx, AirBnB, and JetBlue.

Once you listen to one, you’ll listen to them all. Trust me. Some of my favorite episodes are Whole Foods, Spanx and Kate Spade.

Marketing School

This podcast series is hosted by two marketing veterans, Neil Patel and Eric Siu. Each day they release a new 6-8-minute episode that touches on a specific marketing topic. Marketing School does a great job of covering varied marketing topics such as SEO, Email Marketing, Podcasting, PR Crises, Blogging, and more. This podcast is great for short drives to and from meetings as the hosts get right to the point and offer valuable information with tried-and-true examples.

Want to learn how to create the perfect Instagram video ad? Listen here. Considering hosting a conference? Learn more here. Ready to make money by podcasting? Listen here.

The Influencer Podcast

This podcast is a tad bit niche, but it serves up great content for those who are interested in learning more about influencer marketing. Julie Solomon interviews folks who are either working with influencers or those who are considered an influencer themselves. I like this podcast because once you listen to an episode, you realize how detailed the world of influencer marketing has become in such a short time. One of my favorite episodes of The Influencer Podcast is an interview with an attorney who now only writes influencer contracts and advises influencers on how to legally structure their business. Cool, right? Listen to that episode here.

**P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about Influencer Marketing, check out our upcoming THRIVE Talks event on March 14! We’ll be chatting with a panel of influencers and those who work with influencers to learn more about influencer marketing in Charlotte. Click here to learn more.

Business Wars

Time to get nerdy! If you’re like me, you’ll love the Business Wars podcast not only for the reminiscence of familiar household company names, but also for the intricate detail into which the hosts of this show dive into the competitive stories of large corporations. Each episode (many of these episodes are part of a larger series) dissects these companies, their history of competition, and why one may be more successful than the other.

For example, this episode of McDonald’s vs Burger King is fascinating.

Recode Media

Even if you’re not a media buff, you may still enjoy the Recode Media podcast. The podcast is a series of interviews with some of the world’s leading media moguls. The questions are often hard-hitting and very insightful. By listening to Recode Media, you’ll learn more about why some media companies are failing, what they’re doing to try to remain relevant, and how the media landscape is evolving.

One of my favorite Recode Media episodes is an interview with Wired’s Editor in Chief, Nick Thompson. The interview was released just as Wired launched their new paywall. Thompson explained why they switched to a paywall, instead of a free site. It’s good stuff. Listen here.

Are there other podcasts that have helped you to learn more about business or marketing? Feel free to send us an email with your favorites!

5 Ways to Nail Your Next Pitch

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Pitching to media is one of the key elements of public relations. Cultivating relationships with media, identifying compelling stories, crafting the messaging, and finding the right reporter to help tell that all lead up to kicking things off with a polished pitch.

With inboxes flooded with press releases and pitches, it’s important to make your outreach stand out among the rest. Here are a few of our top tips:

  • Get to the point. Reporters are busy and are likely to hit delete if they see a novel in their inbox. Don’t spend time on fluff. Your note should be clear and concise.

  • Make it personal. If it’s your first time reaching out to a particular journalist, take a line or two to say hello and introduce yourself. Show the reporter you know their work by referencing an earlier piece they wrote that relates to your pitch.

  • Do your research. Don’t you hate it when you get an email that’s completely unrelated to you, your work, or your day-to-day? Journalists don’t like it either. Take the time to do some digging and make sure the reporter covers the topic that you are pitching.

  • Proofread your work. It sounds simple, but a rogue typo can immediately turn a journalist off to your note, no matter how compelling your pitch. Along the same lines, double check that you have spelled their name correctly. Believe it or not, it happens!

  • Follow up appropriately. Your follow-up strategy and timing can sometimes be more important than the initial pitch itself. If a pitch gets no response, wait a few days and then follow up. Be mindful of current events and happenings that may be taking priority in the news cycle. Try offering new information or linking your pitch to what’s happening in the news. Be helpful, not pushy.


Looking to build a solid public relations strategy for your business? The Social Ape Marketing team can help! Contact us today to get started on your next PR campaign.

6 Simple Tips For Businesses on Twitter

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Getting your business account to thrive on Twitter is a demanding task, so it's never a bad idea to learn some new tips and tactics to set yourself up for success.

1. Share Content You Enjoy

Sharing content that makes your Twitter account a valuable one to follow is an easy way of gaining followers. Share content that you enjoy and that is relevant to you.

2. Use Rich Media in Your Tweets

Using rich media in your tweets such as photos, videos, or GIFs make your tweets visually appealing to your followers. Tweets from businesses that contain images are more likely to get retweeted by your fans.

3. Schedule Your Content

When you plan in advance, you can better stick with your social media strategy rather than tweeting on the spot every time. Best practice for posting on Twitter is to post gradually and consistently on a day-to-day basis. Use scheduling tools, such as Buffer or Hootsuite.

4. Shorten Your Links

There are plenty of free URL shorteners on the market, so take advantage of them. With a program like Bitly, you can tidy up your URLs to display a more visually appealing link. You can also track exactly who is clicking your content.

5. Join a Twitter Chat

Rapidly build your knowledge about your industry by getting involved with Twitter chats that interest you. Twitter chats are not only a great way to improve your own knowledge, but they connect you with like-minded Twitter users at the same time.

6. Twitter Shortcuts

This handy trick is not just for newbies. Surprisingly, many people don't know you can access a whole host of Twitter shortcuts, simply by hitting the '?' button on your keyboard while accessing Twitter on desktop.

Are you ready to take your business’ social media profiles to the next level? Contact us to get started!

Social Ape Launches Support Your 704 Campaign

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We’re taking a different approach with this week’s blog post to announce our newest campaign!

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with several local creative businesses to launch Support Your 704, a charity campaign that will present two local nonprofits with a full marketing plan including Marketing Consulting, Photography, Videography, Graphic Design, Print and Website Design.

There are more than four hundred nonprofit organizations in Charlotte, N.C. and many have not been able to create a full marketing campaign due to budget constraints or lack of resources. For each nonprofit selected for Support Your 704, Social Ape Marketing is donating a half-day marketing and public relations consultation workshop; Peter Taylor Photography is donating a professional photography package; Spiracle Media is donating a full-day video shoot; Charm Creative is donating either a brand new logo or a logo design, as well as a brand style guide, social media templates and a direct mail piece or flyer; Allegra Southend is donating a banner or a sign, brochures and envelopes and Arya Creative is donating website design and build. The combined total value of donations is just shy of $40,000 dollars resulting in a $20,000 campaign for each winner.

Applications for Support Your 704 will be accepted until Feb. 20 and winners will be announced on March 4. To apply for the campaign, please click here.

Do you know of someone who works in or is the founder of a nonprofit organization in Charlotte? Please share this post with them and encourage them to apply! We love spreading the word of doing good things in our community.

Image File Formats Marketers Need to Know

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The vast selection of image formats can be pretty overwhelming, but there's a method to this madness.

When creating or manipulating graphics, it's important to learn how the different image formats work. These are the most widely-used images formats today.

JPEG aka Joint Photographic Experts Group

Benefits

  • Feature 24-bit color, with as much as 16 million different colors and color combinations

  • Most widely recognized and accepted image format

  • Works well for most operating systems and is extremely web-friendly

  • Nearly every digital camera uses the JPEG format

Downsides

  • Tendency to shed off a great deal of information

  • May develop artifacts following a compression

  • Cannot be animated

Why Choose JPEG?

JPEG is the go-to format for online photos. It supports a full spectrum of colors, and almost all devices and programs can open and save to the JPEG format — making it the most universal of the three formats. JPEG files are ideal when you want to keep the file size down and don’t mind giving up a little quality to create a very small file.

GIF aka Graphics Interchange Format

Benefits

  • Supports transparency

  • Performs modest animations

  • Features lossless quality

  • Works well for graphics with restricted colors

Downsides

  • Limits graphics to only 256 colors

  • Considered to be somewhat outdated compared to other formats

Why Choose GIF?

Use GIF for simple web graphics with limited colors. GIF files aren’t recommended for files with a large range of colors, like photographs or other detailed imagery. But if you’re working with small graphics, like banners and charts or animations, GIF is the best format for the job.

PNG aka Portable Network Graphics

Benefits

  • Open-source

  • Created specifically to be patent-free

  • Features lossless compression

  • Arguably the best option for photos going through the editing process

Downsides

  • Unsuited for standard photographs

  • Produces extremely large files that require a lot of space

  • Unable to support animation

  • Unsuited for all browsers

Why Choose PNG?

Use the PNG format when you need a small file that maintains its original quality. PNG files support millions of colors, plus varying degrees of transparency — so they’re perfect for graphic image files, like logos, charts, and infographics.

Choosing the right visuals also means saving photos in their right format. This is crucial if you want to spruce up the image by changing its color tones or adding text. It's also important to note that licensing is a consideration you must look into.

4 PR Software Tools Your Business Should Be Using

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A successful public relations strategy includes a variety of moving parts. Whether you’re conducting research, building out a media list, or pitching targeted stories, segments, and ideas to journalists, you likely have a lot on your plate.

Consider these tools when planning for, creating, and implementing your next public relations campaign.

Meltwater

Meltwater offers quality media intelligence and social monitoring to users through a variety of customizable plans. Not only can Meltwater be used for media list building, social media monitoring, and reporting but also for press release distribution and analysis. They also have a mobile app for when you’re on the go!

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BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo allows users to create better content by understanding what type of content is working, what type of content is being searched for, and what influencers are making an impact in the industry. Users can also conduct competitor analysis to see what’s working for those in a similar niche or industry.

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HARO

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a part of the Cision family and allows both journalists and sources to engage to create compelling stories using this free service. Register and receive a plethora of targeted pitch opportunities daily. Utilizing this service to pitch and secure relevant mentions can drive ongoing awareness to your brand or business.

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CoverageBook

One of the final steps in any solid PR campaign is to take a step back and evaluate performance. CoverageBook allows users to create coverage reports in a quick, no-nonsense manner. In a matter of minutes, get real-time data on the impact and quality of earned, paid, and organic coverage in one clean, customizable, and shareable report.

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Eager to figure out how to put these tools into practice? Contact us to learn more about creating a PR campaign to achieve your 2019 goals.

Why Your Business Needs Influencer Marketing

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It’s no secret that social media has forever changed the PR and marketing landscape. On top of enabling brands and target customers to directly interact, the rise of influencer marketing has also allowed these same companies to develop loyal brand advocates out of the internet’s favorite bloggers and influencers.

Businesses are taking note of the power of influencer marketing and adjusting their marketing budgets accordingly. Here are a few reasons your business may want to consider investing in an influencer marketing plan in 2019:

Builds Credibility and Trust

People follow their favorite influencers and bloggers for a reason. They trust in and respect the content they’re seeing from them. This allows for a more authentic experience and puts the brands they partner with directly in front of an extremely engaged audience.

Easy on the Wallet

While it’s true that the cost of influencer marketing is on the rise, it’s still relatively budget-friendly compared to other marketing strategies. Instagram stories, in particular, are an effective way for your business to utilize influencers when you may be working with a smaller budget.

Allows for Niche Marketing

Brands know that content will be placed directly in front of their target audience if they’re finding the right fit for partnerships. The influencer has already done the work in curating the ideal audience for their particular niche, so it’s a given that the brand’s message is relevant and will provide value.

Improves SEO Ranking

Blog posts written by influencers are effective in boosting a businesses’ SEO. Influencers have built up libraries of relevant content containing appropriate keywords. Blog posts can also create strong backlinks that assist with SEO efforts while also driving website traffic.

More Effective than Ads

The beauty of influencer marketing is that followers have opted into seeing content from their favorites. The perk here? Collaborations, when executed properly, feel authentic and organic and bypass the jarring nature of some traditional advertisements.


Are you ready to see how influencer marketing can positively impact your business’ growth in 2019? Let the Social Ape Marketing team help. Contact us to get started!