Creative Concepts Looks At Photography Tips for Better Selfies

Couple taking a self portraitNow more than ever people are sharing digital pictures of themselves online. Smartphones give people the power to easily shoot their selfies with the press of a button.

The word ‘Selfie’ was even named word of the year in 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries as usage of the word grew 17000% from the previous year.

Snapping a savvy selfie sounds relatively simple, right? Wrong!

People are making simple selfie mistakes with their eyes, mouth and jaw that can really make the difference between a flattering shot and one destined for the trash bin.

Portrait photographer Peter Hurley recently shared tips for better selfies and head shots in the Fast Company article “Always Be Squinching and Other Tricks from a Portrait Photographer for Taking Flattering Pictures.”

Among the tips, focusing on your eyes and jawline are at the top of his list. The top trick when looking directly at the camera? Bringing your forehead slightly towards the camera and tilt your face down a little bit. Another tip is always adding a slight smile.

For a wealth of great photography tips, check out this video and the article.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Looks At The Death of SEO

ID-10088341According to an article on Inc.com, SEO is dead.

How so? The changes in Google’s algorithm have reduced the importance of keywords and PageRank, among other things.

Their new secure search removed keyword data so companies no longer know what keywords people use to find their site. That is one downside from the changes.

“In short, Google is doing a brilliant job of pushing people away from tactical SEO behavior and toward a more strategic approach.” – Eric Enge, Search Engine Watch.

In their latest algorithm changes, it appears the Google is no longer rewarding websites based on strictly tactical measures. Digital marketers need to be more strategic with their optimization efforts.

It is imperative that you research what your target audience is looking for. Explain how your product/service can solve their problems. Provide great content on your website and communicate this information through social and digital channels.

The main idea of SEO focuses on providing a great user experience. It’s about them, not us.

SEO is not dead after all. It is simply growing up.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Studies 7 Myths of Email Marketing

Email marketing remains an effective, integral part of a brand’s marketing strategy yet it lacks the attention that the internet and social media receive in the digital age.

There are many email marketing myths floating around the web like when the best time is to send email as well as when people tend to open them. PR Daily recently reported on common email marketing myths and included an infographic from Alchemy Worx.

Here are a few of the email marketing myths cited:

  • Consumers are drowning in emails from trusted brands. Fact: Sixty percent received less than 6 brand emails per day.
  • Consumers like to click the spam button. Fact: Less than one subscriber per 2,000 will report the email as spam.
  • The subject line can get the email marked as spam. Fact: Keywords have little to no effect whether an email goes into the spam folder.

Take a look at the infographic and plan your next email campaign with confidence.

email marketing myths

Creative Concepts Looks at Social Media Tools Brands Should Be Using

Brands are using an increasing number of digital channels for their marketing and PR efforts. Social media networks are part of these digital strategies and all have different demographics and purposes.

Managing your social strategy and messaging through social networks can be difficult. This infographic “25 Awesome Social Media Tools Your Brand Should Be Using” from the 2013 Social Media Strategies Summit is a great road map.

The categories are grouped into 5 types of tools: Social Listening, Social Conversation, Social Marketing, Social Analytics and Social Influencer.

What tools are you using? What have you seen success with?

Print

Creative Concepts Looks at PR Tips to Improve Results on Instagram

ID-10061287Instagram recently released a Windows phone app which makes it now available on the top three mobile OS platforms. By offering a Windows phone app, Instagram increased its possible reach by 10.2%.

Although the Windows app has been criticized for its lack of video support, the rollout still offers brands the potential to reach a larger segment of its customers.

PR News wrote a few PR tips to improve returns on Instagram. Sure, the social network is difficult for brands to penetrate due to links not being allowed, among other things, but some brands are thriving.

Here are a few tips from PR News:

  • Every picture should tell a story. Tell your brand’s story or one of your customer’s. Make sure your images connect with your audience. Get creative. How are you involved with your community? Show behind the scenes activities or highlight a partner or customer.
  • Actively participate in Instagram. Engage with your followers. Learn what they like and share the love. Create a board for your fans’ posts.
  • Be real, be authentic and have fun. In an age where social platforms are being purchased and ads are appearing in streams, brands that are authentic and real will have the most success.

Wondering what photos drive the most engagement on Instagram? Business Insider reports the following findings from a new survey from social media analytics firm Curalate:

  • Images with a high degree of lightness generate 24% more likes than darker images.
  • Images with a vast amount of background space generate 29% more likes than those without.
  • Images with a single dominant color generate 17% more likes than images with multiple colors.
  • Images with low saturation levels generate 18% more likes than those with more vibrant colors.
  • Images with high levels of texture generate 79% more likes than those without.
    (Curalate)

Also be sure to incorporate hashtags for people searching topics related to your brand.

As with other social networks, discover what works for your brand by trying different ideas, finding what works and connecting with your core audience.

Image courtesy of jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Talks Twitter Tips

Twitter tipsA Twitter guide recently released by Econsultancy shows businesses how to create compelling marketing tweets.

The guide is chock full of tips from basic user how to’s to advanced marketing tactics.

Why Twitter? It’s ranked as a top 3 social networking site for businesses. Consumers feel more connected to businesses through social media. It is all about engaging with your audiences. Consumers research for products and services online and expect to see businesses interacting with customers online.

Here’s a roundup of the guide and the top tips:

  • Learn how to use Twitter. It sounds simple, but many people do not know how to fully use Twitter. Mashable has a great starting guide for Twitter basics to get started.
  • Tease your followers.
  • Be careful how you edit your 140 characters. Without proper punctuation, the tweet might be misconstrued.
  • Have a voice. Create a strategy and messaging to reflect it.
  • Nostalgia rules. Tweet about your history and interesting facts.
  • Use video. Showcase your company characteristics using Vine or YouTube.
  • Watch for media mentions and tweet about it.
  • Share the human side of your company. Do you give back to the community? What programs are you involved in?
  • Tweet your blog content in an informative way.
  • Curate. Share information about your industry and interests for your followers.
  • Minimize tweets from conferences and events. Not everyone is attending so be aware.
  • Don’t forget your profile page! Make sure it is filled out with keywords and neat imaging.

For more details and great tips, check out “The Complete Guide to Creating Compelling Marketing Tweets.”

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Looks at Retail Promotion Tips for the Holiday Season

retail holiday pr tipsThe 2013 holiday retail forecast looks to be modest with predictions of 2.4% growth from the 2012 season, according to ShopperTrak. The National Retail Federation recently launched a survey about shoppers’ holiday gift giving budgets and reports that they will be more cost-conscious this season.

The survey reports that shoppers plan on purchasing 40% of items online. Shoppers are buying gifts early to spread out their budget and are cutting down on self-gift giving. Sales and discounts will drive their purchases and the top preferred gift is holiday gift cards.

What does all of this mean for retailers? You will need to get creative with your promotions and find ways to stand out from the competition. Here are a few public relations tips for promoting your retail business this holiday season.

Holiday Gift Guides: If you are promoting products, your holiday gift guide pitching should begin in July, according to Cision’s “10 Tips for a Holiday Gift Guide Campaign.” It’s not too late, but be sure to research relevant media outlets and blogs and tailor your pitch accordingly. Since the holidays are weeks away, you will have more success by pitching online outlets that have shorter lead times. Make notes for next summer if you want to pitch print outlets with longer lead times for their holiday gift guides.

American Express Open Forum talks about “5 Ways Retailers Can Compete for Customers This Holiday Season.” Here are highlights from the article.

Start promoting now. Retailers promote their holiday campaigns in hopes of drawing the early holiday shoppers. NRF reports that many people start holiday shopping in September and October – an estimated 40% of all holiday shopping is done before Halloween.

Improve your e-commerce. E-commerce sales are on the rise.  With 40% of shoppers planning to purchase online, make sure you are able to accommodate holiday shoppers’ buying preferences.

Go mobile. Emarketer estimates that 16% of holiday sales will be done this year on mobile devices such as tablets and phones. Make sure your website is mobile friendly and be sure to incorporate social media marketing into your holiday campaigns to increase visibility among your customer base.

Offer competitive pricing. With shoppers looking for sales and discounts, finding ways to offer deals is important for the holiday season. Smaller businesses can compete by offering superior customer service and amenities such as free gift wrapping.

Offer stand-out promotions. Be creative and offer shoppers the most rewarding shopping experience whether online or offline. Find ways to stand out and draw in new customers. Reward your current customers with VIP shopper campaigns.

And last but not least, don’t forget about holiday social media campaigns. They can be a cost-effective way to promote your business by encouraging your fans to spread the word.

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

Creative Concepts Reviews Top Social Media Marketing Trends for 2014

social media trends 2014As we enter the fourth quarter of 2013, experts begin to take a look at what worked and what didn’t work in social media marketing this year and make predictions for next year.

Businesses are seeing tangible benefits of engaging on social media with their customers and measuring results through lead generation, referring web traffic and revenues.

Content marketing and social media management takes lots of time and resources. Look at any job site and you’ll see that hiring for social media specific titles is on the rise rather than giving current employees additional social media tasks.

To that end, Forbes recently posted “The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014.” See how your social media marketing goals align with these trends as you prepare for next year.

  • Social media investment will be “a necessity, not a luxury.” Businesses are integrating social media into their marketing and public relations plans and learning how to include social in the marketing mix. The question of having a social media presence will be replaced with “what channels do we need to be present in?”
  • Google + will become a big factor. Google is king. By adding Google+ to the mix, your business will improve SEO and visibility among many other benefits.
  • Visual networks will continue to grow. With the success of Pinterest and other visual social networks, using images and video to tell your story through social sharing is important.
  • Micro-Video is on the rise. Short video snippets are the latest trend with Vine and Instagram offering video sharing on their sites.
  • Foursquare is struggling. Foursquare traffic is on the decline and the struggle to stay ahead of the location based services pack like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter remains to be seen.
  • MySpace reborn. MySpace has rebranded and received a new makeover. With its focus on music, it will be interesting to see how it stands apart from the rest of the social networks and if it can build a userbase.
  • LinkedIn becomes a major player for B2B growth. The top networking site for business professionals continues to dominate and recently added an Influencers program. LinkedIn and Twitter both continue to be sweet spots for the B2B crowd.

The giants Facebook and Twitter also continue to grow. Facebook is focusing on mobile markets as well as its advertiser base. Twitter announced plans for its IPO and continues to connect people worldwide on topics like politics, news, television, sports, media and more.

Thanks to social, businesses are engaging with customers and consumers like never before. Consumers want to be heard and the businesses that listen and respond will succeed in the future.

What networks work best for your business? What social networks do you think will explode? Which will fade away?

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Creative Concepts Discusses Public Relations Tips for Brands and Small Businesses

pr tips for getting media coverageBusinesses face many challenges while building, supporting and marketing a product or service. In the face of major competition, finding ways to stand out remains a priority. Getting publicity is one of those ways to stand out and set your business apart from the rest.

Media Leaders recently hosted a Google Plus hangout and asked PR professionals at over a dozen companies to share some of their best public relations tips that they use to get press for their company and/or clients.

Here is a summary of the public relations tips that were shared:

  • Have a story to tell. Journalists are easier to reach these days but you still need to get their attention. Have a hook and tell your story. 
  • Focus on a small group of media outlets. Usually companies have a small pool of journalists who cover their industry. Create your hit list and get to know them. Read their blogs, follow them on social media. Become a source and offer help even if your company doesn’t directly benefit.
  • Form an alliance with a technology partner. Sharing success stories with your technology partner can improve chances that your story is picked up. Show how you and the tech partner helped a business solve a problem. Share the story on both of your websites and through your channels.
  • Ask for permission. One agency found success through asking permission to send pitches for start-up clients. Once they found out journalist preferences, they saw higher engagement and ultimately more success.
  • Use LinkedIn InMails. If your company subscribes to LinkedIn, utilize the InMails to send a short pitch to your target media. Customize the pitch to that person. Don’t send all of the details – if they are interested, they will respond.
  • Send mail. Since most people are online, there is less snail mail being sent. Try sending a pitch through the US mail.
  • Use video. Share informational snippets and create a YouTube account. Use keywords in your description and send links in your email signature.
  • Research incoming links. Find out who is linking to your website and your competitors’ websites by using a tool like Majestic SEO. Discover what your competitors are doing in PR and stay informed.

For more useful tips and a video highlight, check out “Getting Press 14 Public Relations Tips for Brands & Small Businesses.”

What tips do you have to share for getting press?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Creative Concepts Looks at New Facebook Promotions Rules

like thumbs up FacebookIn August, Facebook announced changes to its promotions rules in its Pages terms. Basically, Facebook has removed the third-party app requirement to run Facebook contests and promotions.

What does this mean? It makes it easier for small and mid-size businesses to directly run a contest or promotion from their Facebook business page timeline. Larger businesses using third party services such as Wildfire and Vitrue will probably continue to do so due to ease of use.

The rules change gives more flexibility for businesses to offer promotions on the fly and for free. The flipside is that these types of promotions will have to be manually run increasing chance of error and creating extra work for employees running the promotions.

Now Facebook promotions and contests can run on the business page timeline and in third party applications.

Facebook outlines the following guidelines. Businesses can:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

One thing that has not changed is that businesses can’t run promotions on personal Facebook timelines.

There are also tagging guidelines for businesses that Facebook specifies:

  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

These guidelines ensure tagging accuracy for brands so people aren’t tagged in content that they don’t actually appear in.

For more information regarding their promotions policies, check out the downloadable Promotion Guidelines, which includes best practices for running promotions through Facebook.

How will these changes affect your business Facebook page?

Image courtesy of basketman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net