10 Tips for Communicating on Social Media During a Crisis

In times like these, the role of social media is taken to an unprecedented level. Recently, we saw a statistic that said 55% of Americans get their news from social media. While first-person accounts and opinions break up the newsfeed and shape narratives, the general user will turn to businesses for fact-based updates and solid information. This means your social media campaign must be strong, accurate, and adaptable as the environment changes. 

When the world is in a tailspin, what role does social media play in your crisis communications plan? 

  • Communication of updates to your audience
  • Support for those who need info
  • Listening to understand what your audience needs from you and your business

Whatever crisis we’re facing, COVID-19 related or not, we hope it passes and that we will come out on the other side a better community. In regards to social media, that means your campaign should be focused on building trust and connections with your audience for the long term. 

So how do you do that? Here are 10 tips we’ve put together to help you execute your strategy effectively:

 

1. Review (and possibly pause) your upcoming social calendar

Take a look at what you have scheduled for the next couple of weeks. Is it still timely and relevant? Will it feel tone-deaf or insensitive amidst everything going on? A great example is KFC. Before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, they had a “Finger-lickin’ Good Campaign” planned for the upcoming months. A really, really clever team member perked up and said “STOP! An ad campaign about touching your mouth in the middle of a pandemic probably isn’t a good idea…”. Good on you, team member. 

 

 

Don’t fret that all of your hard work has gone to waste, just think of it as being “repurposed” for a later date. You’ll thank yourself for having a great campaign ready to go when things settle down a bit.

 

2. Have a strong social media policy in place

You might not be able to see a crisis coming, but you can be prepared for one. An emergency response policy should be solid, flexible, and information focused. You’ll want to ensure that you have an up-to-date emergency contact list, guidance on accessing social account credentials or other important login information, guidelines for identifying the scope of the crisis, an internal communication plan, and an approval process for a response strategy.

 

3. Know who’s on your “tiger” team

Some people work really, really well under pressure. You want your emergency response team to be comprised of these team members. They need to be quick responders, fast thinkers, and amazing adapters. While you should have a team of these people ready to go, it’s important to have a wider team in place that’s still responsible for the day-to-day monitoring and overarching campaign development. Both have their own time and place and you’ll need both to execute your strategy to the best of your ability.

4. Ensure employees are aware of your organization’s position 

Is the system through which you disseminate company information strong? Do you have a process for distributing information about relief efforts, donations, or other programs? Now is the time to make sure it’s bulletproof to ensure the right information is getting to the right people and your staff feel supported during a stressful time. 

 

5. Communicate with honesty, openness, and compassion

This is pretty self-explanatory. Our favorite example of a brand taking a minute to pause and re-orient comes from Chiquita banana. They did a great job of incorporating the #StayAtHome campaign while still maintaining their brand voice and identity.

 

6. Cite credible sources

Again, pretty self-explanatory. As a manager of a social media campaign, you’re responsible for providing information that is accurate and honest. Your audience trusts you to be providing valid information. In a crisis, bad information is not only irresponsible but it has the potential to damage your reputation. It may be tempting to share shocking statistics or a new update but do your due diligence in fact-checking and ensuring what you’re sharing is supported by data from reputable sources like government agencies or organizations.

 

7. Listen to your audience to stay informed

Monitor your content closely and be prepared to make adjustments based on how your audience responds. If you begin sharing about how your company is supporting relief efforts and your audience feels what you’re sharing is ill-timed, then it might be wise to pull that content and redirect towards something else.

 

8. Avoid jumping on the “trend train”

Don’t attempt to spin a crisis. Plain and simple, it won’t work and it will receive negative backlash. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t adapt to a new environment and rethink your business model to fit the situation. Recently, the factory that produced the uniforms for the Philadelphia Phillies was getting creative about what they could do with all the unused fabric they had laying around after the season was postponed. They decided to take that material and repurpose it for cloth face masks. There’s a national shortage and they felt it was their social responsibility to reallocate what they had to serve the greater good. This is a great example of how to take advantage of the situation without trying to spin it in your favor or appear profit-driven.

 

9. Make room for questions

People will have questions. It’s unavoidable. As situations become more tense and uneasy, your audience will become hyper-aware of your company and your product or service. They’ll ask incredibly specific questions that you may have never been asked for. Be prepared and don’t be offended. Remember that people are trying to navigate a new situation just like you are.

 

10. Don’t go off the grid

This is incredibly important. I know at the beginning we mentioned “pausing” your campaign. But this is a temporary measure in order to regroup and come back stronger. You may feel continuing a social media campaign is insensitive in light of the current climate, but that’s simply not true. Your audience is looking for dependency and certainty wherever they can get it. They want to see you stand your ground and stay strong. 

 

We know that crafting a social media campaign in the middle of a crisis is probably the last thing you’re thinking about or even want to be doing. You have a business to run, employees to take care of, and customers to support. That’s where we come in. Let us help you through this season and ensure you come out on the other side strong.

Social Media in a Time Like This

It’s a very strange time in the world right now. The current global crisis of COVID-19 has the world rocking and reeling. And rightfully so. Never before in my life have I seen something like this. Just today I went to order Thai food, temporarily spacing on the mandatory stay home order issue that has closed many businesses and restaurants. I was hit again with the painful reminder that there is a real crisis happening, right outside. And we are all in this together. 

We will make it through.

What does the current global climate mean for your social media? There has been a 70% increase in time spent across social platforms such as Instagram and Whatsapp, a 50% increase of messaging across Facebook’s platforms, and 2x more Facebook and Instagram Live views.

There have been 468 Million mentions of keywords related to the COVID-19 outbreak across social media channels over the past 90 days. That number is staggering. With 62% of adults in the U.S. getting their news from social media while 59% of consumers engage with their favorite brands on social media as well. And from a recent poll, 68% of people learned about company updates from social media, with 79% via email.

These numbers are pointing to one thing: People are turning to social media outlets now more than ever for information, connection, and so much more. Digital attention is drastically on the rise as people turn to social media to what we at The AD Leaf believe to be a more grass-roots resurgence of the whole point of social media: to be social. With many staying at home to protect the lives of others and themselves, social media has reminded us once again that it’s of vital importance as a tool to remain connected, to communicate ideas, or organize and collaborate, and see loved ones.

With that being said, there is something of vital importance to insert here. The current COVID-10 pandemic is not a marketing opportunity. 

With the state of the world, there are things that you need to consider as we all navigate into some pretty murky waters. Below are a few quick ideas that we think are vitally important for you, your brand, and social media:

  1. Be careful to not “go dark” – This is huge. It’s important to not just drop off the face of the planet, especially in a time like this. Your brand needs to be seen as a pillar of strength for your audience. What we would suggest is to pause your social media, take a step back, and reevaluate the direction of your strategy. What was communicated last week may very well not fit into the current narrative. It’s ok to take a step back for a few days to reassess the situation, the tone, your strategy, and your in-house staff. But then, once ready, come back as a source of strength and encouragement to others. Going dark for a long time communicates an instability that will hurt you in the long run. Keep the lights on.
  2. Don’t capitalize on the situation – We have never seen such a pandemic like this in our lifetime. This is not the time to try and hijack the situation for personal gain. Many don’t mean or realize that what they are communicating is actually insensitive, so take a moment to think about which foot you are stepping forward with. Make an extra emphasis on empathy, and approach the situation as someone who is here to help. That doesn’t mean however that you cannot sell products, but it does mean don’t use a painful situation to capitalize on. Be careful here.
  3. Tone – We touched on this, but the tone is huge here. Stay true to your brand during this time, but exercise balance. The livelihood of your team may depend on selling products, and that’s ok. But the way you go about things here requires more tact and balance than ever before. Think about staying true to yourself, but being more compassionate. As an additional note, it’s ok that your brand doesn’t have all the answers. Transparency coupled with professionalism is a bright, shining example that we have seen many companies exercise in the light of recent events.
  4. Communicate – Whether it’s with your team or your audience, it’s of paramount importance to over-communicate in this time. And if you are able, work from home to help reduce the spread of the virus. We have a plethora of ways to remain connected, like the video conference call company, ZOOM, to help you and your team remain on the same page. With your audience, it’s important to do the same and let them know what’s going on. As we saw earlier, a large percentage of people use social media for company updates, so once you have stepped back to reassess your direction, come forward with a clear message of hope, resilience, and on-brand messaging. A point of caution here would be to be careful to not communicate information that your audience may not need. There is a plethora of companies, brands, leaders, influencers, politicians, newsrooms, newspapers, authors, actors, and endlessly more voices out there, communicating information. Sending out that email to an inbox that has already received 54 emails before 9 am can add unnecessarily to stressors that are probably already occurring. Only send pertinent info. 
  5. Practice moderation – This one is a gentle reminder about mental health. It’s ok to not have all the answers. It’s equally ok to not be glued to social media or the news where the challenging events are constantly in your face. Our mindset can be greatly impacted by the onslaught of the terrible things that are happening out there and being viewed in real-time at our fingertips. Take this time home as an opportunity to spend additional time with your spouse, your kids, to pick up a hobby, or to go on a walk. Practice social distancing, but also unplug and take a moment to exercise gratitude. Science shows that those who practice being thankful are mentally and physically healthier and happier. Take a moment to smell the roses. 

 

While this is a serious event in human history, we have seen glimmers of hope and encouragement from regular businesses and people, just like you. For example, Krispy Kreme is giving away donuts to all health care workers. The CEO of Texas Roadhouse gives up their salary so front-line workers can get paid. Zoom has made video sharing services free for teachers so at-home classes can commence. Starbucks has extended mental health benefits to its partners. Apple is offering unlimited paid sick leave to any of its employees experiencing related symptoms. Sprint is giving its customers unlimited data and 20G of hotspot access for 60 days to ease remote working. And the list goes on!

We at The AD Leaf want you to know that if there is any way we can help you, please reach out to us. We are here for you. 

 

Resources:

https://buffer.com/resources/social-media-management-in-times-of-crisis

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/#6f75c197183c

https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/03/17/50-ways-companies-are-giving-back-during-the-corona-pandemic/#4cb944dd4723

The Fine Line of Social Media

During times of national emergency, or in this case, global, it’s important for companies to walk the fine line of continuing on with business as usual while being sensitive to the problem at hand. Companies and individuals alike are going through a scary, uncertain time. During times of uncertainty, people turn to what is secure. It may seem minor, but a sensitive and strong message on social media from brands does help provide a sense of normalcy . It’s a gut reaction for many companies to pull back on social media marketing and advertising but is that the right call? To be frank, no. Let’s talk about some common concerns and how to confront them.

“If we post on social media as normal, we’ll come off as insensitive.”
It’s very easy to cross the line in your social media posts but it is certainly not impossible to continue on with your posting strategy, nor is it suggested to stop! Making jokes, playing off the issue, or completely ignoring it all together are sure-fire ways to understandably anger your audience, so instead focus on what it is you offer, how it can help, and if applicable, what you’re doing to mitigate the situation.

Are you a small restaurant or store? Offer curbside or delivery of products. Are you financially able to donate to causes helping those most affected? Share that and encourage others to, as well. COVID-19 and the economic issues surrounding it will no doubt affect nearly everyone, so it’s important to encourage solidarity. We’re all in this together. You should also share what you’re doing to help stop the spread of the virus, whether it be a change in how business is conducted (working from home, splitting office time, etc), reduced hours, or other associated changes in policy. It shows you’re taking the issue seriously and instills confidence in your company. Continuing to post is especially important if your demographic is young Millennial or Gen-Z. For demographics that seemingly live on social media, a lack of activity is seen as a red flag.

“We’re quickly headed to an economic downturn. I need to pull back on advertising costs.”
The idea makes sense, right? If you need to save money, cut costs where you can without risking integrity. While that might be true in some scenarios, this is arguably the most important time to continue advertising. To quote the Harvard Business Review, “Although it’s wise to contain costs, failing to support brands or examine core customers’ changing needs can jeopardize performance over the long term. Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the social media marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.”

In other words, by not continuing to advertise or by cutting your budget, you give off an air of instability and a lack of concern or understanding of what your base may be going through. Stability in all forms speaks volumes. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. You pick up your phone, search for a company, and click on one of their social media profiles, only to see their communication is spotty at best. Are you going to give them their business? Not likely! If a company suddenly stops posting or the quality changes drastically, people are likely to think the company has either gone out of business or is going through a tough time.

“I know what my customers do and don’t do, like and don’t like, I don’t need to worry about social media marketing.”
Times of panic, whether the health or economic variety, change people’s habits constantly. The train of thought for your customers during average times may not match what they’re thinking and feeling during times of crisis, and how you market to them needs to alter in recognition of that. It’s important to be sensitive to changes in income and general feelings of stress. Is your tone too harsh or too playful? Is your price point realistic? Every aspect of your campaigns and brand need to be evaluated dynamically.

It’s imperative for brands to show strength and understanding during times of struggle. You need to convey that you’re here for customers and that you’re not going anywhere, but it needs to be done in a way that isn’t tone-deaf, either. It’s not an easy feat, but that’s what experts like us are here for. Our social media team will help you navigate these murky waters with the care, concern, and knowledge the situation calls for.

If you think you’d like to seek our social media marketing services, give us a call at 321-255-0900! We at The AD Leaf Marketing Firm would love to help you succeed!

Pinterest: A Safe Haven From COVID19 Misinformation and Negativity

With a pandemic raging and social distancing the norm, we are all secluded from our family and friends trying to stave off boredom. So many of us turn to social media to stay connected, find out the latest information on the Coronavirus or COVID-19, and to keep ourselves occupied and from climbing the walls in our isolation. A quick scroll of Facebook is enough to stress anyone out–alarming headlines, political posts blaming and finger-pointing, misleading information that hasn’t been properly vetted, sales pitches for cure-alls for the disease, and alarmingly negative posts from fearful people. It makes you want to put down your phone, get into bed, and pull the covers over your head. But fear not, social network destination Pinterest is taking steps to protect you from that!

In 2017, Pinterest started restricting health-related content and searches, beginning with anti-vaccine information. Pinterest directed vaccine-related searches to pages with information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention starting in August 2019. Then it expanded to other health topics over time.

When people go on to Pinterest and search for COVID-19 or Coronavirus, they are directed to a sparse page with content form the World Health Organization and get the following message “Pins about this topic often violate our Community Guidelines, which prohibit harmful medical misinformation. Because of this, we’ve limited searches to Pins from internationally-recognized health organizations.” Social media posts are rampant laughing about how Pinterest is shaming your mom for searching for homemade DIY surgical masks. A search for COVID-19 brought up a whole page of frequently asked questions like “Is it safe to receive a letter or package from China?” and “Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?”, almost all provided by WHO.

All this means that Pinterest has become a safe haven from all the negative and misleading information about the COVID-19 virus and people are very happy about that! But Pinterest has gone even further! On Tuesday, they launched a new feature called Today tab which is refreshed daily to user-curated topics and trending posts. It offers advice from experts and health agencies, as well as timely posts like home workspaces and study tips for kids.

The Today Tab has Boards with titles like “TT-Pilates”, “TT-Baked Pasta”, “What to Watch”, “Toddler Art Projects”, “TT-Bedtime Yoga”, and “Jump Rope Workouts”. This is the mecca for everyone who needs some distractions from all the fear-mongering and finger-pointing. There is enough information to lose a couple of hours exploring fun activities, recipes, workouts, homework assignments, and crafts to do to make social isolation a lot more interesting and fun!

The microblogging platform is also a wonderful resource for self-care from everything from how to wash your hands to stave off disease to how to calm an anxiety attack. So if you’re feeling anxious, you can search for meditations to calm your anxiety and connect to your inner peace.

Are your kids restless and bored being cooped up at home? You can find DIY crafts and activities that will hold their attention and keep them occupied.

Or, if you’re trying to get your children on a schedule and don’t know where to start, there are plenty of homework assignments and homework trackers that you can print off from your home computer to keep your family on track.

If you are looking for activities and projects to use as homeschool lessons, Pinterest has a wealth of information for you. It has DIY science projects for every age to support the homework that schools sent home with your children.

With kids home from school, meal planning is a little bit tougher–Pinterest has got you covered there, too!

Pinterest also added a new “Compassionate Search” option on the website which prioritizes activities that help you relax with content from health authorities.

So take a break from all the scary news about COVID-19 and lose yourself in the wonderful world of Pinterest.

If you need help with your social media game and want to add Pinterest to your social media marketing, please call The AD Leaf Marketing Firm LLC at (321) 255-0900. We would love to show you how to increase your online presence and market your products to your clients via social media!

Digital Marketing Strategy

Why Businesses Need Digital Marketing To Survive COVID-19

Why Businesses Need A Digital Marketing Strategy To Survive COVID-19

In the coming months, businesses of all sizes are going to become extra reliant than ever on their digital marketing strategy. Without wanting to sound too much like a killjoy, in many cases, it will be the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times that are ahead. 

The unparalleled, and almost-total disappearance of all channels related to live events and conferences, and the increasing barriers on face-to-face business, pose an enormous challenge to any business model. 

B2B companies, in particular, rely on the annual circuit of trade shows and exhibitions to network and build customer relations. In industries that are not digital-native, they may also be less sophisticated in their digital growth and customer relations strategies. Especially in the case of smaller businesses that are used to getting new customers strictly word-of-mouth referrals or on the strength of a hard-won reputation, their loss is going to come as a shock if it hasn’t already.

Larger companies are now finding themselves in the position of having potentially lost millions of dollars from canceled events alone. They won’t claw back the hours of time and expense spent on preparations for this year, but insurance and flexible cancellation policies are going to leave them with some marketing budget to reassign. Digital Marketing in any aspect is likely going to be the clear and obvious choice here, and companies that may not so much as had a Facebook page before will need to move into social media marketing, content marketing, SEO, and even influencer-led campaigns. 

This, of course, means there are opportunities out there for the taking and a key factor in resilience is adaptability. If it’s standard in your industry to go out and meet new customers face-to-face before you do business, adapting may mean opening new channels over web or social media platforms where introductions can be made and relationship fostered. In the coming months, you prospective clients are going to be less open to the idea of letting you walk through the door and shake their hand, and no-one really has any idea how long this will last and whether this will lead to longer-term change. 

We are going to be in some uncertain times, but with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are going to turn to digital channels and embrace the transformation. There has already been a real spike in the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update their websites, launch new social media channels and campaigns focused on home-workers and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences. 

Being confined to the office — or even the home — rather than on the road on sales visits or at events, means marketers are going to have more time to develop digital marketing strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online, and how different approaches and tactics might impact your success. If your organization previously put minimal efforts into digital channels, now is going to be a prime time to revisit them. That could be as simple as giving your website or social media pages a refresh, or a more innovative approach. 

A key point to note is that a lot of corporate entities use up about 50-60% of their marketing budgets on events. When things go back to normal, budgets will most likely be going back to those live face-to-face events, but if organizations can see the benefits and opportunities that digital marketing can offer, they might understand the benefit of adding it to their long-term marketing strategy. 

Channels such as Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn Live are going to be crucial moving forward as the ability to connect with a targeted audience real-time is very beneficial, if not essential. 

It’s certainly true that the coming weeks, or months – or however long this situation lasts – will be a challenging time for any company that isn’t ready to think about how they will replace the opportunities that have been lost. 

As long as businesses can approach the shift to digital marketing strategically, there’s no reason why it should just serve as an emergency fill-in but could carry on providing long-term value when the world eventually gets back to normal. And of course, this would make companies more resilient to deal with any future pandemics. Do you need help with your Digital Marketing Strategy? Looking to take your social media or SEO to the next step? Contact the team at The AD Leaf Marketing Firm and learn how you can grow with us today and weather the storm that is COVID-19!

How Has Social Media Impacted The Corona Virus?

Going from an Epidemic to a Pandemic, the Coronavirus is sweeping news headlines and social media across the world. What started as an unknown illness at the beginning of 2020 has turned into a global pandemic with many companies, schools, and organizations taking action to prevent the spread of the disease. While there have been disease outbreaks such as the Avian flu, Swine flu, and others, no disease has been quite like the coronavirus. If you’ve been on social media within the last month you have most likely seen news updates, company updates, and memes all revolving around the virus. It is clear that social media has played a key role in the panic and news updates involving the virus.

How have companies addressed it?

Many companies have used social media as their biggest communication platform to address the virus. Companies such as Planet Fitness, Comfort Inn, and multiple restaurant chains are using social media to address the extra safety measures they are taking in order to prevent the spread of the virus and keep everything sanitary. Many companies have taken extra safety measures with their employees by having them work remotely from home, with some businesses even closing temporarily to prevent the spread of the virus. Companies now have to make the tough choice of losing profit and business by taking costly safety measures to stay safe or risk losing the trust of the public and employees by not taking proper safety measures. This can be clearly seen on social media as companies who are posting in regards to the virus are getting mixed reactions from those who believe the virus is being blown out of proportion, to those who don’t think some companies are taking safety seriously enough. It seems that there will be backlash regardless of which stance the company takes regarding the virus. Now, Public Relations workers are being challenged with the tough tasks of deciding how their company will handle the coronavirus.

How have people addressed it?

Social media has also been the biggest communication platform for personal reactions and opinions regarding the coronavirus. While many have used it to share news articles and updates regarding the virus, some have shared and created fake news which has helped play into the panic involving the virus, and exaggerates its symptoms. This has resulted in many people taking unnecessary actions such as stockpiling toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning supplies creating a shortage across the country. Some people have also reacted very poorly to the virus regarding school and business closing announcements on social media with some students going as far as rioting. According to the New York Post on March 11th after classes were suspended at the University of Dayton in Ohio due to the coronavirus, many students began rioting at the campus with over “1,000 students gathered on Lowes Street starting around 11 p.m., throwing objects and bottles in the street and at police, and jumping on cars,” the school said in a statement. Other events such as concerts, music festivals and sports events have also been canceled with many fans angrily reacting on social media. On the bright side, not all social media involving the coronavirus has been negative. Some users have taken to social media in a more humorous approach regarding the virus posting funny memes as well as many celebrating the discounted prices of cruise lines and flights. Some users have also offered to help anyone with coronavirus and shared ways on how to prevent the coronavirus such as proper handwashing techniques, and ways to stay safe.

Misinformation and false posts

While social media can be a great source of information and news regarding the coronavirus, it can also be misinformative, overexaggerated or completely false. When reading articles make sure that it is accurate by using fact-checkers and your own judgment. A great free fact-checker that you can use is factcheck.org. This fact-checker can help you find false or partially false information to help you find reputable sources as well as avoid using inaccurate information and articles. Another important thing is to make sure of is that the article or news is from a trusted and credible news source before you share it yourself. A helpful tip is to look for news articles that come from sites that end in .edu or .gov as they are always credible sources from the government or universities. Facebook has also been tightening its grip on false news and information articles to stop the spread of panic and misinformation. Facebook now flags false articles and posts with their own fact-checkers but that doesn’t mean that it is able to detect all misinformation and fake news. Keep this in mind as you scroll through your newsfeed what measures businesses are taking to keep everyone safe and also be aware of the information that everyone else is posting in social media so you can make the best judgment calls regarding the virus. 

Is Facebook Trying to Take Over Pinterest?

In a world where it feels like everyone is “taking a break from social media” or doing a “social media detox” (Cough, cough, we’re looking at you Ariana Grande…) Pinterest seems to be the one that is never in the spotlight. In the midst of all the drama, you don’t see Pinterest having any scandals or having to partake in congressional hearings. It prides itself on being a platform where users can connect with themselves versus connecting with others. It gives you free rein to create your ideal vision of your true future self. There are many users who utilize Pinterest as a search engine to plan a party, build a shopping list, or revamp their wardrobe. In the eyes of a marketer, this means that the typical user who is navigating Pinterest is in “discovery mode”. They are looking for content to consume and are susceptible to suggestions as well as well-placed ads. 

While Pinterest is often viewed as the “little sister” of social media, it’s actually the fourth most popular social media platform in America. Right now, it outranks Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, and WhatsApp. As of September 2018, 250 million people use Pinterest every month and that included 77.4 million people in America alone. Last year, Pinterest added more American users than Facebook and Twitter combined! 

Let’s break down the user demographic a bit more for you: 

  • Pinterest reaches 83% of American women ages 25-54
  • 50% of the new sign-ups last year were men
  • 80% of new sign-ups are from outside the U.S.
  • 80% of Pinterest users are on mobile devices
  • 98% of users go out and try the ideas they find on Pinterest
  • 59% of Millennials have discovered products on Pinterest (which puts them ahead of Instagram in terms of product discovery. Impressive considered Instagram has 4 times as many users)

This spike in users has caught Facebook’s attention. So much so that Facebook decided to launch its own version of Pinterest to try and compete with the competition. The day before Valentine’s Day, Facebook announced the release of Hobbi in select countries including Colombia, Belgium, Spain, and Ukraine. Hobbi’s describes itself as an application that allows you to “organize your photos into visual collections and see the progress you’re making over time”. Facebook is holding their cards close to their chest but we’ve already seen this limited release affect Pinterest. The day Facebook announced the limited release of Hobbi, Pinterest’s shares fell 3% while Facebook’s shares rose 4%. 

We’re excited to see how this newly developed social media networking site evolves over the next few months. We know we’ll be following this closely and quickly developing a strategy to help you utilize it to grow your business and generate leads. We know that you’ve got bigger things to worry about than to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in social media. That’s why you have us. To get started with our cutting-edge social media program, give us a call at 321-255-0900.

Marketing Agency

5 Reasons To Hire A Marketing Agency VS An In-House Team

Should you hire a Marketing Agency or build an in-house team?

In today’s digital landscape, there is no shortage of marketing options for businesses. From freelancers and marketing agencies to hiring your own in-house team, companies have more choices than ever before, specifically when it comes to online marketing. As your business grows, you will need to consider how your marketing will be handled, including whether to hire new employees and build an internal marketing team or empower your brand through a Marketing Agency.

While each has its own advantages, a full-service Marketing Agency provides substantial value to large, medium, and even small businesses. They strive to build cohesive and effective brands, put organizations in front of their customers and audience, and drive sales through awareness.

5 Reasons to Hire A Marketing Agency

1. Unparalleled Experience

Why piece together individual talents when you can hire an experienced Marketing Agency to handle everything for you? One of the major advantages of hiring a Marketing Agency is a professional experience. In fact, a good agency will have specific knowledge in a wide range of industries and markets, along with experience facing a diverse range of scenarios and challenges never encountered by many newer business owners. Having a knowledgeable and experienced staff at your side can produce immediate results for owners, helping to quickly get your marketing efforts off the ground.

2. Broader Skillsets

It can be difficult to locate suitable in-house employees with branding and marketing skills such as SEO and graphic design. By hiring a Marketing Agency, you’ll not only have the necessary tools to achieve your vision for success but a suite of creative services at your fingertips.

For example, a full-service Marketing Agency can assist clients in everything from rebranding their company image and website, developing their print and direct mail campaigns, and creating a social strategy to boost SEO and PPC campaigns. With a Marketing Agency, a client may choose to utilize one service or all them–whereas, with an in-house team, businesses are limited in what they can achieve.

3. Fresh Perspective & Inspiration

Another major advantage of hiring a Marketing Agency is a new perspective. A marketing team can help inject new life into marketing efforts, helping to identify unseen opportunities and enhance current campaigns. One example is social media marketing. With more companies looking to broaden their social reach through sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, a Marketing Agency can significantly enhance a brand’s approach to social media, including how they’re perceived by their audience.

4. Speed, Efficiency, and Consistency

As an up-and-coming business owner, you’ll be forced to wear several hats when getting your business off the ground. Generally speaking, this will almost include tackling aspects of the business you’re unfamiliar with, such as branding and digital marketing. With only so much time in the day, it’s important your marketing approach doesn’t suffer from time restraints or inexperience. Hiring a Marketing Agency can easily solve this dilemma.

5. More Affordable Than Hiring In-House

The cost of hiring and maintaining a team of in-house marketers can be very expensive. For smaller businesses, this expense may be too much to afford.
One of the more surprising benefits of hiring a Marketing Agency is cost-effectiveness. Along with providing a plethora of knowledge, experience, and skillset, a Marketing Agency is almost always more affordable compared to hiring a full-time marketing team. For example, after hiring a marketing manager, web designer, graphic designer, content writer, and social media manager, the total cost can reach upwards of multiple six figures a year! And that’s not even including the cost of employee benefits.

Marketing is the heart and soul of any business. At The AD Leaf, we’ve spent the last 25 years working with a diverse range of clients — from healthcare and technology to governmental, law enforcement and consumer goods — to perfect our approach to marketing, advertising, and branding. From strategic creative direction to engaging digital marketing, our extensive marketing team is here to handle every aspect of your business.

Want to enhance your content marketing? Looking to take your social media to the next step? Contact the team at The AD Leaf Marketing Firm and learn how you can grow with us today!

“Loretta”: Kicking Ads & Taking Names

We’ve all seen it.

The tear-jerker ad released by Google during this year’s Super Bowl commercial ad space.

This ad by Google depicts the voice of an elderly gentleman using Google to remind himself about his late wife, Loretta. This ad was also inspired by a real person, a Google employee’s grandfather. As the commercial begins, it avoids much of what Super Bowl ads are known for. Comedic humor. Celebrity faces. Nostalgic flashbacks. With so many of these pop-culture references and heavy emphasis on humor, each company and advertising agency has one of the most competitive niche ad spaces to fight over. And with a 5 million dollar price tag for a 30-second commercial space, the competition and drive to stand out becomes even more daunting.

To be fair, there were so many ads that were incredibly well-done and clear in their communication. From the Cheetos commercial with MC Hammer dancing in those…pants, to the dog that was the survivor of heart cancer, to the loveable Ellen ad showcasing life before Alexa, the lineup was chock-full of heavy hitters in the marketing space. Then there’s this Loretta ad that had us holding back tears and smiling without even trying.

The commercial opens with slow typing on a familiar Google search browser. The typing was the immediate initial stand-out element. It was slow, more intentional. Before a male voice could be heard I knew this was going to be potentially an elderly person behind the keyboard. Then the words “How to not forget” are seen, typed into the search bar. The stringed music begins to play, creating a somber ambiance. As the commercial continues, you can feel both sadness, but not mourning; a relatable “human-ess” but also a hope for one’s own life.

Then we hear an elderly man asking Google Assistant to help him remember different aspects of his wife, Loretta. It takes a moment to realize, but the more you watch you begin to realize that Loretta is the man’s wife, and she is unfortunately no longer with him. The commercial is of an obviously kind and warm widower who is using Google to help him remember things of a woman he loves but is no longer there with him.

As you continue to watch you see slideshow and videos that are obviously taken from a real individual from a real marriage and a real life. This is so important because if this was done any other way, an ad like this (which is already a big risk due to the nature of the ad) could be seen as insensitive, manipulative, and morbidly crass. But as you watch you see over and over pictures and videos of a real couple, happy and in love. Google is right there, helping this man remember Loretta’s favorite foods, how she liked going to Alaska, and how she hated his mustache he grew one time. Heart-warming doesn’t even begin to describe all the feels we feel watching this!

“Remember, don’t miss me too much, and get out of the dang house.”

Here we see that she truly is gone, but we also see a beautiful snippet of her relationship towards him, not just his towards her. It alludes to a moment he had with his wife, probably one of the last. Google helps with the heart-string tugging here by including the last little note from Loretta that said, “…and get out of the dang house’ helping the viewers navigate this sad topic with life and humor. The commercial ends with us hearing a human voice, the voice of the widower, and a door opening as he leaves the house with his dog, ending on a beautiful, real note.

Google’s “Loretta” ad embarks on a risky balancing act of sadness and joy, life and loss…and does it beautifully. Check out these stats from the data-driven video marketing agency, Unruly:

“Loretta” earned an EQ score of 6.5 thanks in large part to its large emotional impact. Nearly half (49%) of viewers had an intense emotional reaction to the ad. It was a 58% more intense reaction than the average U.S. ad and the highest of any of the 40 Super Bowl ads tested by Unruly. According to the company, “Loretta” was nearly twice as likely to make viewers smile, almost four times more heart-warming and 12 times more sad than the average U.S. ad.
The emotional reaction also seemed to translate to brand impact, leading to the highest brand favorability of any of the Super Bowl ads Unruly. Nearly half (49%) of all viewers reported a favorable view of the brand, compared to a U.S. average of 37%. What’s more—46% of viewers also reported purchase intent, with 47% saying they were willing to find out more about the brand.

“The Super Bowl is traditionally the chance for advertisers to bring home the laughs, yet two of the top three ads leaned heavily on more serious emotions. Google’s ‘Loretta’ ad had the highest score for sadness in the top 10 and both Google and New York Life Insurance had some of the highest scores for warmth at 32% and 26%, respectively,”
The data and the results shine a burning spotlight on one (there are obviously many more) glaringly important fact when it comes to marketing: In order to win big, you must risk big.

When I say risk, I mean to dare to take the road that others aren’t taking. Google did it perfectly in this ad because they counted on seeing the same trend of humor and nostalgic ads, all clamoring for a spot as top dog (Speaking of the dog, the other ad in the top 3 tier was about the dog who had heart surgery!). Google specifically and deliberately swam against the proverbial current by taking not the humorous and nostalgic road which is always a safe choice that “works”, but by daring to forge a new path by sewing themselves into your lives through appealing to something that binds every person together: Love. Google was making a simple and yet incredibly effective claim that we need Google for the most important things in our lives.

In order to win big, you must risk big. Sure, you can spend too much money on a 30-second ad space to create something brilliant, funny, and feel-good. Most of the ads we viewed and analyzed were indeed incredibly well thought out. But what about making something memorable? By appealing to different emotions than the typical niche space of the Super Bowl ad space, Google dared to be an outlier.

This is why Google’s Loretta is brilliant marketing. It perfectly goes against the trend by taking big risks in appealing to unusual emotions, while implying that we need Google for life’s most beautiful things.

And won.

Is your business ready to take the road less traveled and make something not only great but memorable? Consider partnering with us at The AD Leaf and let’s start kicking ads and taking names together. Call 321-255-0900 today.

How TikTok is Taking Over and What This Means for Digital Marketing

Social media is constantly changing with new platforms coming in and rising in popularity every year. TikTok is one of these new social media platforms, and it’s one of the most popular networks of 2019. TikTok is currently the world’s most downloaded app, and its popularity is only expected to grow. For those of you still in the dark about this new social platform, TikTok is a video sharing app that allows its users to share 15-second videos that could be funny, artistic, musical in nature, dancing, and more. The app originally gained popularity with high schoolers and middle schoolers. It was originally founded in China, but in 2017 it made its way to the U.S. bringing major changes to the social networking world as well as pop culture. In 2018, TikTok broke records by achieving 100 million downloads just within the first half of the year. 

With every new social platform that gains popularity, digital marketers have to consider the possibility of marketing on that platform. The quicker marketers utilize platforms such as TikTok, the faster they can get ahead of the competition and potentially gain popularity for their company or companies on that network. Some companies like Chipotle have already hopped on the TikTok train by creating “challenges” on the platform for their customers to do. One of these challenges was having people dance for free guacamole in honor of National Avocado Day. To get the free guacamole, customers had to post a video of them dancing on the app with the hashtag #GuacDance. Chipotle was the first restaurant chain to partner with TikTok in the U.S. Its first challenge was in May of 2019, and it resulted in Chipotle’s highest digital sales day. Stephanie Purdue, vp of brand marketing for Chipotle, says about the company’s arrival on Tik Tok, “Our digital sales have grown significantly — we’re up 99% versus last year — and they now represent about 18% of our sales. Half of our customer base is Gen-Z and millennial, so it’s important for us to show up where they are. We really like being in unexpected and uncluttered spaces, and we felt like TikTok was one of them.” Chipotle plans to continue pursuing the market on this platform, and it also plans to significantly increase its digital marketing budget in the hopes of reaching more and more social networking users.

Starting TikTok with your company can help to maintain consistent communication with your customers which can help your company reap social and financial benefits. Almost half of all Gen-Zers are online for more than 10 hours a day which means leaving popular social networks like TikTok out of your marketing plan could be preventing you from reaching an audience that could be an important part of your consumer market. TikTok may not work for all companies depending on what demographic you are trying to reach, but understanding the platforms your customers follow is an essential part of business strategy and digital marketing. Breaking into the market on those platforms can allow greater communication between customers and the company and increase social growth overall.

If you are trying to figure out which social media platforms are best for you, we, at the Ad Leaf, can help. We are proud to say we know all the ins and outs of the digital marketing world. We make it our priority to find the best social networks to fit your business and to fit your customers. Let us help you navigate the difficult world of digital marketing. To schedule your consultation today, please call us at (321) 255-0900.