A brave new world – Instagram without likes | What your brand can do to stand out

What’s the metric you look for first when checking back in on an Instagram post? We hate to say it. But we all do it. It’s ‘Likes’, right?

How many Likes did your competitor get? How quickly? How many more (or less) Likes are being dished out to other accounts? And how many to yours? Social Media Managers, business owners, and brands alike — we all use this as a key metric for tracking post-performance.

According to CNN, In an attempt to stamp down on competitive pressure on the platform, Instagram will hide likes for “some” users in the United States starting next week, its CEO Adam Mosseri said Friday. It’s a test that the Facebook- (FB)owned platform has already rolled out to seven countries: Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

You, as the post creator, can still view how many people have Liked your post by tapping on a ‘Likers’ menu. But the public? Nada.

Will Likes Still Affect the Algorithm?
Yes, essentially Likes are still affecting the algorithm. But in a more back-end way.No longer will Instagrammers feel embarrassed, pressured or (hopefully) pushed to delete posts based on their Like performance.

But what would hiding Instagram Likes mean for businesses, brands, and Social Media Managers? What would a world without Instagram Like look like and how would you even #deal if this function is rolled out in your country?

#1 Genuine Interactions Will be Everything

Whether you’re genuinely commenting on the posts of other accounts to build a connection or alignment with their brand, visible comments will reign supreme. The new value will be placed on followers and comments.

#2 More Effort to Be Discoverable? You Betcha!

Praying that your ideal audience member will stumble upon your Like passed to another account could be the way of the past.
This means that commenting on posts, interacting with hashtags, reposting Stories and published posts will all be ways to connect complementary audiences with your brand. Or at least get in front of them.
Hope marketing (AKA random efforts on socials hoping they’ll work) is a thing of the past. Now that we know hiding Instagram Likes is a reality, it’s never been more important to make use of key engagement tactics.
Replying to Stories, hashtagging Stories, adding hashtags to posts, encouraging others to share your content and ensuring your Instagram Strategy is totally banging means a whole lot more now.

#3 Influencer Marketing Changes

Does your brand use Influencer Marketing? Do your clients? How do you measure the success of an Influencer Campaign and what’s the bigger picture? Of course, Likes were never an indicator of product sales, conversions or shared followings. But they kind of gave some type of marker, right?
Without Likes, the Influencer game does change quite drastically. For brands and for Influencers. As well, the same advice goes to both: To build audiences outside of Instagram. To treat Instagram as a part of the marketing ecosystem, and not as the entire marketing sphere.
We see a shift towards long-term partnerships between brands and influencers. This way Influencers will essentially act as ambassadors, won’t be restricted to single posts and perhaps may even choose brands they work with more carefully.

#4 A Larger Focus on Instagram Stories

Take away Likes and does Instagram emphasize authentic content sharing? Rather than the picture-perfect presentation of Instagram grids, we’re seeing many brave account sharing raw content of themselves, their products and their ‘vibe.’
More than ever, Stories (with over 500 million daily active users) will provide a platform for authentic brand and self-expression. And perhaps lessen the pressures to post perfect content all the time. Because Likes shouldn’t affect your self-worth and beliefs about success. So let your brand shine in its brightest, most authentic light on Stories, in posts, and across Highlights.

If you want more information on how you can leverage Instagram in your marketing for 2020 and beyond reach out to us here at GreenRoom! Contact us today at info@grnrm.com

Times Up, Times Square?

Times Up, Times Square?

Every brand on the planet is always looking to make a “big splash” whether it’s for a new product launch, partnership announcement or during a peak buying time like the holidays. In the days of a monoculture, brands would often leverage Times Square as New York has long been considered the media hub of the world, and it captured the attention of most of the country. With legacy events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year’s Eve Ball Drop deeply ingrained into the American psyche, it’s easy to understand why brands used to view it as the epicenter of the universe! It represented pop culture and major trends in a way that few other places on the planet could. Does it still hold its luster in 2019?

In a word, no.

While New York remains abundantly dominant with its concentration of media outlets and continues to be a hub for a myriad of industries, the same concentration of eyes that were once on Times Square are scattered across a number of social media properties, news outlets, blogs, streaming services, YouTube channels, and messaging apps. In this incredibly fractured landscape, where does this leave brands?

It leaves them in a great place, as long as they’re getting the right counsel. While it’s always tempting to try and find the widest audience and why millions are still spent on the Super Bowl, brands have had to evolve along with the state of media and where consumers now go. Gone are the days of a major activation in Times Square that captures the attention of the country.

PR teams and brands have had to get much savvier about how all facets of communication are approached. A well-executed campaign can take place anywhere, and an effective combination of digital spend, clever retargeting, earned media, visually compelling assets, influencer activations, video content and a strong story can sweep the internet and spur along purchase decisions in a much more measurable way that an expensive stunt in New York City. A few important questions to consider as you’re looking to generate buzz:

  • Do I have a compelling story? (be honest!)
  • Who is my audience and where can I find them?
  • What are we communicating?
  • How will I be supporting this campaign?
  • How am I measuring success?

While it’s always tempting to default to what feels comfortable or has worked in the past, it’s critical for brands to realize that it will take much more than a Red Bull pit stop to generate buzz in 2019.

Why Your Brand Needs to Gram

Why Your Brand Needs to Gram

Since the creation of Instagram in 2010, the platform has continued to grow in popularity. In fact, Instagram has become so popular that “Do it for the gram” has taken on a meaning of its own! “Instagrammable” has even been added to the US Dictionary!

In the fall of 2018, Instagram surpassed Snapchat as being the top platform for teenagers. With 71% of Instagram users being under the age of 35 with a pretty even distribution of male to female users, Instagram has become the venue for establishing and rolling out new marketing strategies.

According to Hootsuite, there are more than 7.7 billion people and counting on Instagram with over 1 billion active users a month. Among those 1 billion users, more than 500 million use Instagram every day. With such unreal statistics, avoid #FOMO and start Instagram marketing!

In July 2019 Facebook announced that the new official name of Instagram will be “Instagram from Facebook” which is beneficial as Instagram has been able to use Facebook’s strong foundation to propel itself to new heights. Further, with Instagram Insights, brands can see how followers are responding to their posts and stories.

This explains why 90% of all brands are active on Instagram with Tech and Consumer Electronics brands setting the standard while being able to showcase their personality in their posts. Creating a unique conversation around your brand’s story is something that is very easy to accomplish on IG, through dynamic imagery and storytelling.

You can engage with your target audience by revealing your style through the pictures you post, and building a true brand community surrounding this content. Instagram is especially useful for companies who want to create a powerful and dynamic home for visually-inspired engagement with their audience.  Brands in the tech & consumer-electronics space are truly setting the standard when it comes to creating a community around your brand through Instagram.

Take Go-Pro (@GoPro) for example, where they not only display the amazing ways you can use their products but more dynamically even, take the audience on journeys to faraway places.  Using this approach, the brand captures not only the tech aficionado but also the travel addicts.  The correct #IG strategy will educate & entertain your audience and grow your follower base, as you control the conversation and direct the narrative of how your current & future customers engage with your brand.

By creating a memorable Instagram reputation for your brand, you can keep followers looking forward to your stories and posts daily. With stories lasting for a maximum of 15 seconds, they serve as a fun, quick way to capture followers’ attention and lead them to brand’s page.

Instagram brings your brand’s personalities to life with all its engaging tools and is becoming a critical channel to attract new customers while marketing products. Explore the trend, express your vibe and get #gramming!

Find GreenRoom on IG or on our website www.grnrm.com for more information about all of your PR & Digital Marketing Efforts, we can’t wait to see you on the #gram

3 Ways to Leverage Creative Services to Maximize Brand Events

Our favorite part of working with our clients is the opportunity to tell their story in meaningful and creative ways. From in-studio designs to filming on-set, our Creative team works hard to bring brands to life with groundbreaking visuals; but did you know these services can also elevate your event?

We had the opportunity to make this a reality for our client American Licorice,makers of the popular candy brands, Sour Punch Straws and Red Vines Twists, during one of the “sweetest” events of the season, Dessert Goals. Here are some ways you can leverage creative services during an event or tradeshow and beyond:

 

Highlight Influencer Partnerships

One thing you can always count on is an influencer wanting to be seen and photographed which makes having a professional team ready to snap the best photo a must for any event.In addition to the colorful confectionary paradise that surrounded us, we had the privilege of working with local influencers as we captured their experience with our branded candy installation.

According to a recent study, 82% of consumers are more likely to follow the recommendation of an influencer they follow. Influencer marketing has proven to be the new word of mouth and authentic content is at the core of their success. During your next event, make sure to seek out influencers and work with your Creative team to take photos and videos of them interacting with your booth, company representatives, and even other influencers! The higher the quality, the more likely your influencer partners will share this content on their feeds and tag your brand social pages. This exposure can help grow your social communities, expand brand reach, and create a new group of brand ambassadors.

 

Enhance Social Media Content Strategy

A great Creative team has an eye for all things design including the best ways to capture digital content that will resonate with your brand’s social media communities. That’s why you should be tapping into their expertise in real-time to take your social content to new, creative heights while highlighting the best of what your event has to offer.

In addition to snapping Instagram-worthy photos and staging interactive boomerangs, Creative Services can also manage some of the more technical aspects of social including Facebook Live. Going live using a smartphone has several unpredictable variables but a professional creative team can help you navigate the set-up while introducing the right equipment to produce a high-quality HD stream.  This real-time feature is favored highly within Facebook’s algorithm, generating three times the engagement of typical video content and demonstrating the power to expand brand awareness into new audiences.

Additionally, working with a Creative team can ensure grainy photos and shaking videos are a thing of the past. When it comes to social, content will always be king. Communities on social media expect to be wowed and this attention to detail can be your ticket into generating high post engagements while representing your brand well across digital channels. Because let’s face it, if your event isn’t on social did it even happen?

 

Develop Assets for Marketing Collateral

When it comes to sourcing product shots, group photos of company leadership, event attendees interacting with your brand, and more, a smartphone camera just won’t do. From lighting to lenses, experienced photographers know what it takes to snap the best shot. In addition to always being on the hunt to find the right angle, professional photographers have a keen eye for filling spaces, staging scenes, and directing people to create a more dynamic image. Marketing materials including print and digital ads, brochures, website content, and even media kits can feature high-resolution event photography to help bring the brand mission and personality to the forefront.These assets can even serve to generate excitement for the next event by highlighting the best and most eye-catching moments in future promotional materials.

While most of these efforts will result in a variety of public-facing assets, these visuals can also enhance documents that are shared internally with company leadership and employees. These materials can be used to highlight and reinforce the results driven from current brand marketing efforts while garnering leadership and financial support for futureinnovative campaign strategies.

Partnering for Success: Why Hire an Agency if You Have an Internal Team

With summer in full swing, many in-house teams are laser-focused on seasonal trade shows, industry events and warm-weather marketing opportunities. This makes perfect sense, but raises an important question; why are their agencies focused on a different season?

At this time of year, as temperatures rise and heating systems become a distant memory, we in the agency world are talking about an equally distant concept — Holiday. That may seem premature on first blush, but agencies often serve as an essential complement to in-house marketing efforts.

This means that brands working with agency support have a two-fold advantage: an in-house team managing day-to-day execution of contemporary tasks while their agency partners develop future opportunities in tandem with the moment. This two-pronged approach is just one of the many reasons working with an agency can be so beneficial.

 

Additional Opportunities

When it comes to Holiday, there’s a distinctly different lifecycle to media coverage opportunities. Here at GreenRoom, we’ve been talking with editors and journalists about Holiday Gift Guides and annual award submissions as far back as our Spring Media Tour — and we’re seeing traction despite being months away from the colder weather. We’ve helped a number of new clients adjust strategy on the fly and add items to their calendar — secure in the knowledge that they now have the right resources to address them.

Our team-based approach to media outreach drives impactful coverage year around, not just during Holiday. We’re constantly cross-pitching, which means your brand is given more opportunities to gain media attention via roundups, briefings, and trend pieces.

This happens on the digital front as well. Marketing teams are often overflowing with work, so they’re unable to start tackling holiday campaigns until much later in the year, when options for partnering on large-scale initiatives are more limited. An agency partner keeps the ball rolling, and by the time fall comes around, Holiday campaigns are already in full development.

As on the media side of the house, our digital seasonal strategy isn’t limited to just holiday. Our team has spent the summer dressing models in sweaters and tailgate football gear, prepping for creative content that will publish in fall and winter.

Agencies can help in influencer negotiation and balancing seasonal initiatives

Industry Insight

Working with a number of clients facing the same challenges puts an agency in the ideal position to inform timing, budget, and strategy on both the media and digital marketing fronts. While we’ll constantly analyze the performance of your brand’s initiatives towards established goals, we’ll also compare this progress to the results we’re seeing from other clients. Because of this, you gain a greater depth analysis. If something needs to be changed, we can borrow learnings from other clients, and implement a strategy that we already know to be successful.

This is especially important on the digital front, where platform algorithms constantly change. If you’re working with just one brand, it may take months to analyze a trend that an agency will quickly see appearing across multiple clients. This means that clients partnered with an agency can better take advantage of platform updates, adjusting strategy to meet the needs of today.

On the PR front, agencies are the first to know when a publication is changing direction or when a new reporter is hired for a beat. This up-to-the-minute information creates efficiencies in media outreach and saves time and effort.

 

Negotiation

Negotiating pricing is another key area in which agencies pay dividends for their brand partners. Third-party vendors and influencers know that agencies have a broader client reach, so agencies can often negotiate better rates and find deals more regularly than a single in-house team.

Negotiation doesn’t just happen on the outside — sometimes internal marketing teams need additional resources to get senior management on board with a new initiative. This is also the time of year when marketing teams are pointing towards budget discussions that will impact the year to follow. We can help bolster the case for additional dollars that could mean the difference between running in place or speeding ahead. An agency can be that reliable outside voice, often delivering the essential push when a VP needs to ok a budget.

Agencies can provide in-house marketing teams with in-depth industry analysis.

When Is the Right Time to Hire an Agency?

We know that even the most skilled of internal teams can benefit from additional resources for seasonal initiatives, product launches and award nominations, among other milestones taking place in the back half of the year.

More often than not, we find that the best answer to the question “When?” is: right now. (Yesterday: no longer an option!)

The Right Time to Hire a Public Relations Agency

Often in our conversations with brands the question arises of when to hire an agency. While each situation is unique, there are a few times when agency support can be especially helpful.

Launching a Brand New Product

As an agency, we’re able to place our clients in a plethora of marquee media outlets. By giving the media a first look at the product, the brand is positioned to have a string of hard-hitting press coverage publish during the launch. This is a great way to generate buzz and place your new product at the forefront of consumer’s attention.

Holiday Season Buzz

The holiday season is a critical time of year for retail companies, as millions of potential customers are in “buying mode.” One of the most sought after media placements are Holiday Gift Guides, some of which are the only source of product information for shoppers! However, the timeline for this may start earlier than you think. We typically start Gift Guide conversations with reporters in June — yes, June! — in order to maximize coverage. Opportunities and placements will grow as we get closer to the holiday season.

Attending a Trade Show

When it comes to trade shows, our biggest priority for our clients is to make a huge splash. Whether it’s a large show like CES or an industry-specific show like Interbike, we strive to fully maximize the days you’ll be attending. In addition to booth support, we’ll secure meetings with top-tier media outlets during the show, giving you an opportunity to present your product front and center to some of the biggest names in media. On the social side, trade shows can be one of the best times to take advantage of live features and trending opportunities. Our team can be on-the-ground to handle photos, video, and live digital engagement.

Just Looking For More Brand Awareness

Maybe you’ve been selling your product for quite some time and feel like you’ve plateaued. You might feel that if you could just reach fresh eyes, your product would take off. That’s where we come in! We provide you with a PR and social “megaphone” that allows you to spread the word  to millions of potential customers. With sample units available, we’re able to create engaging social content that aligns perfectly with the brand story we’re telling  marquee media outlets. This one-two punch of social and PR will make sure your product is not only being seen, but being seen by the right people.

Inside the Algorithm: What Facebook’s Changes Mean for Your Content

Facebook’s latest update

Since its launch in September 2006, the Facebook News Feed has been in a state of flux. From the introduction of Like buttons to the prioritization of popular posts to the crackdown on clickbait and fake news, Zuckerberg and company have continually updated the News Feed to optimize the user experience. Since a 2015 report in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that mindlessly scrolling Facebook could be detrimental to mental health, the platform has concentrated its efforts on driving active participation on the platform.

With the latest algorithm update in January 2018, Facebook overhauled their ranking process to focus on engaging content from family and friends over content from brands and publishers. Vice president of News Feed Adam Mosseri shared in a Newsroom post that the updates would prioritize “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.”

How does Facebook determine what is meaningful?

The platform is using reactions, comments and shares to adjudicate how compelling a post actually is. While it may seem that engagement spend is the easy answer to this, friend-to-friend interactions will take precedence. Companies will have to think less about what the brand wants to push, and more about what their target audience wants to see.

What does this mean for content creation?

Creators should put themselves into the shoes of their social customer and ask, “What kind of content would I want my best friend to see?” Thought leadership and philanthropic efforts are more likely to organically take root within an organic community than flash-in-the-pan sponsored posts. Similarly, this type of content is more likely to generate long-term benefits than its ephemeral meme-like counterparts.

Additionally, because we can anticipate that users will be spending less time on the platform, there should be a stronger focus on snappy, succinct content that contributes positively to a viewer’s Facebook experience. Gone are the days of sharing a meandering ten-minute YouTube tutorial on your Facebook page; concise, meaningful content is in.

What does this mean for marketers?

Marketers will need to think outside of the box of engagement baiting to create content that is genuinely engaging, rather than artificially popular. Clickbait-style promotions, including giveaways that use “Comment below!” or “Like this post to enter!” will have higher CPM rates, higher cost-per-click and lower organic reach overall than they have in the past.

It will take months for these updates to roll out across all of Facebook’s products. As we learn more about what these changes mean for brand reach and how to best spend in the new digital climate, one thing is true now more than ever: it’s all about your audience.

Why Everyone Wants to Go Viral

Viral

In an era of Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Periscope, images, links and videos spread like wildfire in the blink of an eye. While many of those images and videos we’re bombarded with are world and regional news and live events, every now and again we’ll see an interesting product, meme or cat video.

Grumpy cat

The most viewed YouTube video of all time is Gangnam Style with more than 2.4 billion views (we warned you, it’s catchy) followed by Charlie Bit My Finger (so cute) and a slew of other music videos and Grumpy Cat memes. As PR pros, we dream about 2.4 billion views and we lose sleep over unique monthly visitors and comparative advertising values, but is there a magic formula to obtain this type of traction and what do we do with it once it’s happened?

Gangnam Style

The quick answer is no and yes. While there’s no specific algorithm that equates to billions of eyes on a product and millions of dollars sold, it’s our job as PR pros to determine the unique qualities of a brand and bring those qualities to light for consumers. We are storytellers at heart; we do all we can to unearth messages that will resonate across the board to a wide variety of audiences. From there, we leverage our relationships and place those stories in outlets and on platforms that we know will generate traction.

Happy Endings

So what do we do with this momentum once we’ve obtained it? Quite honestly, we run like hell with it by continuing to tout those achievements on even MORE outlets and propel the brand into selling heaven. As with all cycles that ebb and flow, there’s always a point when the virality of a message ends. So we look for new stories from a brand, and whether it’s a new products, service or milestone, and we begin again.

Run

How to Measure Social Media Success

SALE

“How do you measure the success of brand’s social presence” is a question we receive time and time again. Evaluating the success of your social efforts can be challenging, but by using the five key components below you’re sure to unlock valuable insights into your audience demographic, competitive landscape and sales metrics.

 

1. Consumer Traction: Social media is a conduit between a brand and the consumer. Not only does it allow consumers to stay connected with a brand, it gives the brand real-time feedback on fan sentiment and position among competitors. Utilizing social media analytics can also help a brand identify new markets or customer segments that the brand is resonating with, providing guidance for other marketing efforts.

 

2. Reputation: Managing a brand’s reputation, customer sentiment and online presence is a key component to any social media strategy. The first sign of trouble for any brand can usually be identified first on social media. Having a dedicated social program provides the opportunity for a brand to manage potential grievances and keep consumers satisfied before they infiltrate the community with negative comments.

 

3. Engagement: One of the most popular metrics to determine social success is a brand’s engagement rate on social media is engagement. Monitoring and evaluating social engagement can help a brand determine how invested the social community is and how effective are its campaigns. Tracking these metrics is vital in creating an evolving social strategy. (should we add engagement stat to provide insight as to what would be successful? How about how we measure it?

 

4. Traffic: An increase in search volume ultimately leads to an increase in traffic to both the brand and retail partner’s websites. Social advertising efforts can be measured by implementing tracking pixels as well as referral traffic via Google Analytics. Garnering an increase in inbound links is another added benefit when engaging on social media. Most fans begin to share information about the brand on their own personal channels which leads to additional traffic and a higher organic ranking on search engines.

 

5. Sales: Utilizing both tracking pixels and Google Analytics can assist in evaluating how many leads were secured from social media thus further defining social media’s success.

 

 

 

How Social Media Can Impact Fan Sentiment

Hayley's Blog Graphic

One of the most rewarding and fulfilling aspects of being a community manager is the ability to engage with a brand’s core fan base each day. Community management offers brands the opportunity to speak with fans in real-time – one of the things that make social media so unique and valuable, and most importantly, integral to a business’s growth.

Fans want to feel like they are valued by the brand and are a part of the team.  While customer service is an integral part of a social media campaign, when a brand can elicit positive emotions on social media from a follower, chances are, you’ve done your job correctly. How you choose to interact with your followers is extremely important in the realm of sentiment. Positive word-of-mouth and sales leads are the goal, and keeping tabs on fan sentiment about your brand can offer key insights that can affect your businesses bottom line.

 

Here are four ways your brand can engage its fan base and increase positive sentiment:

 

  1. Utilize Hashtags:By creating a unique hashtag for your brand, you can easily listen to and join conversations your fans are engaging in. Pro tip: Hashtags for entering a contest or creating evergreen hashtags can help you track and monitor communications about your brand.
  2. Build Relationships: Start conversations with fans who interact with your brand and engage with them on other relevant topics aside from your brand. Liking their photos or commenting about a topic can often transform a fan into a brand advocate.
  3. Cultivate Advocates: These are the fans who consistently talk about your brand and jump into conversations with you daily. Advocates are essential to community growth. Plus, their word-of-mouth praise can drive new business for the brand.
  4. Take Advantage of Giveaways: Nothing says “I appreciate you” more than rewards. When a brand reaches out to its loyal followers and rewards them with product, the fan is typically overwhelmed with joy. Even if the fan was originally impartial to the brand, a giveaway or a prize can be the point at which they become true brand advocates.
  5. User Generated Content: Sharing fans’ content on your brand’s channels can bolster engagement and brand affinity not only from the fan but also new potential customers. Seeing that real people use your product in their everyday life can be more of a motivation to purchase than any other methods of promotion.