5 Ways to Get your Social Media Accounts Ready for the Spotlight

Is your organization gearing up for a large social media campaign? Are you attending a prominent industry conference? Or, maybe your organization is about to announce a big change?

Whatever your situation may be, if you anticipate more people, or a new audience, checking out your social media accounts, it’s time to make sure your social platforms are ready for the spotlight.

Here are a few quick and easy ways to take your social media accounts from drab to fab:

1. Establish consistency. Whether your organization is on two social media platforms or ten, the brand should remain consistent across all its accounts. Make sure your organization’s names (handles), photos and general description are as similar as possible so it is easy for people to find, follow and engage with you. Once your accounts are consistent, use the “website” field to cross-promote them.

2. Elevate your photos. We live in a world of high-quality photos. With a little cropping or coordination with a graphic designer, it’s simple to optimize (resize) your main pictures to look great on social media. Chose photos that will work well across all platforms to keep your accounts consistent. 

According to Hootsuite, the standard image sizes for major social platforms are:

  • Facebook profile picture: 180×180 pixels
  • Facebook cover photo: 851×315 pixels
  • Twitter profile picture: 400×400 pixels
  • Twitter header image: 1,500×500 pixels
  • LinkedIn logo: 400×400 pixels
  • LinkedIn banner image: 646×220 pixels

3. Spice up your organization’s bio. To make your organization more searchable, work relevant keywords into your social profiles. Add links, hashtags, handles, prominent industry terms and maybe even a little humor or creativity into your bios, and your number of page visits and followers are sure to increase. 

4. Engage with others. With so many companies using social media, sometimes all it takes is a little reminder that you exist. Follow-back people who have followed you, thank people for taking the time to retweet or like your post, or ask your clients/customers for reviews or endorsements. In the social media world, there are infinite opportunities to engage.

5. Publish a “teaser” post. Did you start reading this blog because you could relate to one of our opening questions? Well then, it sounds like you have exciting news to share! After you’ve made some updates to your social media accounts, tell your audience why you’ve made changes. A “teaser” post like, “We’re giving our social media accounts a face-lift in preparation for a BIG announcement,” will keep your audience engaged and checking back in with your accounts often.

Now, are you feeling more ready for the spotlight?

Easy on the Eyes

In our highly visual world, even PR people like us recognize that gray words in columns aren’t always the best way to communicate. (And we love words!) Increasingly, we’re telling client stories through various visual elements, and looking for creative ways to showcase key words and information.

Quality design that supports a brand look and feel is still the gold standard for all creative work, whether it’s print or digital. As we collaborate with our network of stellar graphic designers, and experiment ourselves with free online platforms like Wordle and Piktochart, we always aim for eye-appeal to draw interest and strategically connect key audiences with information and inspiration.

Here’s a peek at what our design partners have done recently, as well as a couple of Bottom Line-produced items. 

design collage

The Brand is the Business. The Business is the Brand

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Everyone has a brand. Whether you like your brand, whether your customers relate to your brand is another question.

The key to a strong, lasting brand is to hardwire it internally first  –  articulating the brand story clearly and consistently to every single employee, regardless of title.

Your brand is your company’s heart and soul. It defines not only what you do, but how and why. It defines the experience your customers will enjoy (or not) with every touch point and the benefits that experience will bring  –  some call it the value proposition.

By hardwiring your brand internally, you define for every employee the expectations the customers have about them keeping the brand promises  — delivering on the value proposition.  By consistently articulating the brand story to every employee, you make certain that no matter who the customer interacts with everyone will deliver the same positive, on-message experience.

The bottom line is your brand is simply what your customers take away from their experience with you  –  good or bad.

Is Your Website Missing Out On Mobile?

According to Mediative, over 6.8 billion people use mobile phones – that’s roughly 87 percent of the world’s population! We are at the tipping point where people actually spend more time on their phones than on desktops. KPCB mobile technology trends indicate adults spend 51 percent of their time using mobile media compared to desktop at 42 percent. What’s more, Google Research found that 72 percent of consumers want mobile-friendly websites.

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, the implications are clear – if you don’t have a responsive (mobile-friendly) website, you are missing out.

Responsive websites not only allow consumers to easily view your site on their phones, they also improve your mobile search ranking, which is typically different than your desktop search ranking!

Not sure if your website is responsive? Enter your URL into Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Google’s test may tell you whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, but it doesn’t give you a rating on how good, or bad, your website performs on mobile devices. Here are a few tips to make the most of a responsive website and ensure your customers enjoy using your website on their phones:

  • Test your website’s usability on mobile devices. Ask users how easy it is to use the website, if everything is readable, how long it takes to load, and how easy it is to navigate (find what they are looking for/accomplish a task).
  • When writing copy for your website, keep mobile usage in mind. Short, summarized content and bulleted lists work best for those using their phones on-the-go.
  • Many still feel nervous when buying products directly on their phones, even on a website they have used on their desktops before. Be sure to use transparent language to explain your mobile site is secure.
  • On your mobile website, work to include the same content, images, features and functionality as your standard website. People expect full functionality when using their phones.

Looking to update your website? Contact us. Here are a few examples of the responsive websites we’ve recently helped create or update: Mosaic Family Health, Mallery & Zimmerman, and Physician Compass.

“Here’s to Looking at You” through Your Customers’ Eyes

Understanding your customers today is becoming harder, not easier, especially given the high noise-to-data ratio driven by our good friend the Internet.

Why is this true?

  • Consumers have more power than ever before, thanks to social media, easy on-line comparison-shopping, and a digital proliferation of choices.
  • Customer diversity continues to increase, putting a premium on pinpoint audience segmentation, and deeper customer insights.
  • Data overload confuses customers, making them less interested in products than in flexible, customized solutions.

Beyond the economic uncertainty of the past few years, it’s not hard to see why customers are less loyal and far less trusting than before. This is especially true in industries whose reputations suffered during the financial crisis—banking, pharmaceuticals, energy, airlines and media. But even if you’re in an unrelated industry, you’re likely feeling some of the same effects.

To get closer to and better understand today’s more discerning customers, you really need to get inside their heads. Beyond a “Vulcan mind meld,” here are five ways to get those perspectives: 

  • Stand in your customers’ shoes. Look beyond your core business. Understand your customers’ full range of choices, as well as their web of suppliers, partners, influencers, etc. Understanding the ecosystem your customers live in helps you learn, adapt, and prosper. This exercise also can deepen your understanding of competitors, helping you better anticipate their moves.
  • Staple yourself to a customer’s order.  Track key customers’ experiences as they travel along your company’s pathways. Take note where the experience breaks down or they hit pot holes.  Experience the check-in process at your hospital, clinic or hotel. Ask managers to listen in on the company’s call center.
  • Field diverse customer teams.  Add members of the back-office support group to your customer teams, switching up the usual customer-facing roles. Send senior teams from different disciplines into the field to meet customers and develop a deeper understanding of their needs and wants.
  • Learn together with customers. Invite top customers, along with your executives and account managers, to a seminar on leadership and innovation. Doing so may help your executives better understand the mindset of their counterparts; it also may help to influence that mindset.
  • Lean forward and anticipate.  Focus on what customers will want tomorrow, aka Steve Jobs. Try to envision different futures with tools like scenario planning and explore how these possible market shifts may affect your customers. Consider involving your top customers in these explorations.

Sometimes, you just need to get out of your own way to really understand your customers. Psychologists know that you’re likely to listen for problems that fit your own offerings, while discounting others. That means you might miss important opportunities, or to get blindsided later. Try to listen with a “third ear” to what your customers are saying to you and others.  If you can truly listen, they’ll tell you all you need to know.

Call us if you’re looking for some third-party expertise to help you get a better understanding of your customers.

Year-end Office Spruce Up

Oftentimes we are so wrapped up in our daily work that we forget to notice the little things—that pile of “stuff” under your desk, the almost dead plant on the windowsill, and the growing collection of plastic food containers in the lunchroom. You’ve become so used to them they’ve become invisible.

Call an office time-out and let your team survey their personal workspace as well as common office space. Become aware of your surroundings and really take a good look at what you see. It’s time to organize those magazines, project samples and maybe toss out a plant or two. The usually slower pace between mid-December and the beginning of January provides an opportunity to refresh your work environment to get the new year off to an organized and fresh start.

While you’re at it, think about your brand. Does your logo still reflect who you are, even though it may have been created back in the day of clip art? Does your tagline still fit with the type of work or service you provide? Do your company colors reflect a modern image, or are you still stuck in the ‘90s with a dated color palate? Your company image might need a refresh as well.

At Bottom Line, we’ve recently done all of the above. A new client wanted to stop by and see our office space and meet the team. That got the ball rolling to spruce up our digs. As home improvement projects go, one thing led to another, and we took a look at our marketing materials and deemed them in need of a change. We’re slowly reinventing our brand. With a new color palette as a guide, we’re redesigning our tools—including proposals, PowerPoints, letterhead, business cards and envelopes. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Brand Sizzle

Measuring Audience Engagement

Many of us are out there hitting the PR circuit to build a following for our brand, organization or product, but how do we determine if our efforts to-date have been successful?

What’s your relationship status?

We often talk with clients about two main categories of relationships:

  • An exchange relationship: Person A does something for Person B only because B has provided benefits in the past or will do so in the future. It’s an exchange of something, for something.
  • shared relationship: Person A and Person B both act out of genuine concern for the welfare of the other and value the relationship without expecting anything in return.

Exchange relationships are the most common, but shared are the strongest. You probably have a mix of both. A good goal for winning your audience is to move steadily from exchange relationships to shared relationships.

Get to the action already!

There’s a scale we often use to build momentum among a given audience. It has four steps: 1) Awareness, 2) Understanding, 3) Engagement, 4) Action… In basic terms:

  1. Awareness
    I think I’ve maybe heard you have a new product.
    Oh, yeah, I kinda sorta stumbled across your company’s website once.
  2. Understanding
    You design fashion apps and I know you have a new one coming out soon.
    I know what you’ve blogged about because I occasionally lurk there.
  3. Engagement
    I’ve talked to my friends about your product.
    I once posted a review of your latest launch.
  4. Action
    I bought your product.
    I’m a blog follower and comment regularly.

The goal is to move people from Awareness to Action. You might have 1,000 people who are peripherally aware of your company, but those numbers don’t matter much until you can convince your audience to go out and spend money on your products or services, or actively support your efforts to build a larger following. The volume isn’t as important as the level of engagement.

Take a look at your audience so far. What stage in the spectrum do they fall into? And how can you move them closer to Action?

Why Your Brand Needs a Style Guide

You don’t need to be a perfectionist or have a degree in marketing to appreciate a brand style guide. This guide acts as a quick references for use of your logo and brand elements. It’s a great tool to ensure your brand is being used correctly and consistently by everyone—internally and externally.

Whether your company is over 100 years old or newly up and running, we always recommend having a brand style guide and directions for where to find it and how to use it. Here’s why:

  • A style guide legally protects your brand. Committing your brand standards to paper and showing how to use your logo and brand elements consistently puts your company in a better position if another organization’s brand starts to look like yours.
  • By maintaining consistency across all communications pieces, you strengthen your company’s brand and increase awareness of what makes your company stand out among the crowd.
  • Where else can you clarify the “dos and don’ts” of using your company’s logos, colors, fonts and other brand elements? A style guide eliminates the anxiety of a discolored or misshapen logo ending up on a final printed piece or large apparel order. This is especially important for individuals who do not use your brand on a daily basis, such as graphic designers or printers.

A style guide is relatively quick to make and you will begin to see its effects internally right away. It also makes your brand stronger in the long-run, and we all associate great companies with strong brands.

So, does your organization need a brand style guide after all? 

Is It Time To Refresh Your Visual Brand?

Think of a brand refresh as a “makeover” that gives your organization the opportunity to change how it is perceived. Not in a chaotic, over-haul kind of way, but in a more fresh, current and visual way.

When is the right time to rebrand or refresh?

This can be a tricky question for some. Before making your decision, ask yourself:

  •  Is there or will there be a fundamental shift in your organization’s experience or service?
  •  Does your current brand look too out-of-date or stale?
  •  Do you feel you have lost touch with your target audience?
  •  Do you feel your organization needs a positive change to keep old consumers interested and your new prospects wanting more? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to refresh your organization’s brand.

Below are some key points to keep in mind when it’s time to give your brand a makeover:

  • Ensure your company image stays current and up to date
  • Integrate new services or tweak old ones to maximize the company’s potential
  • Infuse new energy into your business by expanding the reach to new customers
  • Change your logo and or color palette only if you feel it is not as strong as you’d like, but be wise in this decision – tweak, don’t over-haul
  • Look at your visual identity and messaging
  • Simplify – it can help ensure a brand’s new look will be more timeless

Refreshing your brand can be a fun, creative and insightful way to improve the overall positioning of your organization.