Faith-based media and marketing

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Marketing Tip: Growing Your Company Page on LinkedIn

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Once you’ve set up your company page on LinkedIn (read more about how to do this here), you can do more than just be a stagnant presence on the social network. Proactively take steps to make sure you, and your company, get noticed and get your customers engaged. Here’s how to expand your reach and use LinkedIn Company Pages for all they are worth. It’s easier than it sounds, we promise!

Create: Fill out all the appropriate information. The more info you provide, the easier it will be for current and future customers or affiliates to find you. Categorize your provided services and highlights in the sections marked “products or services”.  Here’s a great tip: you can embed a YouTube video on the page to add life and color to your brand, enhancing what would otherwise be only text.

Delegate: Much like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to choose which employees/admins you can assign activities to such as postings, content creation, etc. Help them help you by giving your team applicable privileges on your page. Brainstorm together to create content calendars and schedules so the burden of keeping the page current doesn’t fall to just one person. Great ideas for status updates include giveaways or fun statistics about the company (such as “We just hit 125 followers! Thanks for the support!”), etc.

Be choosy: Yep, we said it. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, having a bunch of fans does nothing for your page on LinkedIn unless they are relevant and somehow able to connect to you on a networking level. On the LinkedIn company page guide, it strongly advises encouraging your existing employees to join the company page. Posting your link on your other existing social media pages is also a great way to garner followers who already care about your company, as is following other companies who are similar to gauge their customer base.

Dig into your pocketbook: Though much of LinkedIn is free (we love free!), there are additional paid services offered, and they are actually worthwhile. Using LinkedIn’s sponsored posts and advertisements can be extremely helpful to promote your company to a level that you may not be able to accomplish otherwise. It’s important to track your reach and audience for approximately three months before investing money into advertising, so you can see a little bit of growth.  If you have no audience (follow your analytics  on LinkedIn Company pages), then there is no point in paying to influence them. Once you have a steady following, use the sponsored posts and advertising features to promote specials (like an exclusive product or book), or to introduce a new artist or author. It can be a great jumpstart for a new item or personality.

Be “findable”: Placing the “follow” button on your company blog and website is a great way to gather more followers (and more relevant ones, which equals less random, faceless folks). Also, do your own research to evaluate how your company can be more successful on LinkedIn. Remember, each company and brand is different, and has unique needs. You can read LinkedIn’s marketing research here to find out more!

Remember that FrontGate is your one-stop-shop for Christian advertising and marketing help to reach the faith-based market, including via social media! See more about our faith-based social media services here.

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Marketing Tip: Beginning Your Company Page on LinkedIn

logo-linkedinWhile LinkedIn is useful for individuals to help launch their personal resumes and experience (you can read our top tips for LinkedIn newbies here!), it is also an extremely efficient tool for Christian non-profit organizations, businesses, and brands. By building a personal page as well as a business page, you can double your reach. If you’re a faith-based brand, here’s how to get started!

How to set up a LinkedIn company page? 

You’ll have to set up your personal page first, using your real information, of course, then you can go to your interests and click “Create a Company Page”. You’ll have to provide a work email address. On the website, it also notes that once you click submit, there is no preview, so make sure you double and triple check the information you provide before you submit it because it will go live immediately. To set up your LinkedIn company page start here.

Key things to remember as you set up your page are: 1) select the best category (this will make sure people can find you quickly and effectively), 2) upload a clear, quality logo image, and 3) give an accurate description that reads normally. LinkedIn readers will see pretty quickly through a description that is poorly written and overloaded with buzz words like the old and failed search engine tactic.

Once you have a company page…

Though we all know this, it is still so easy to stray from it if we’ve been using social media for any length of time: the key to being effective is being consistent and posting quality, engaging content versus just posting information overload! With LinkedIn, you’ll want to expand your networks as well. Some tips for doing this include:

- Define your company’s mission and use those keywords throughout your postings.

- Maintain a consistent tone throughout your postings, just as you would on other social media outlets.  If your tone is fun and casual, make sure it matches across all fronts.

- Get your employees involved: doing “behind the scenes” content of what it’s like to work at your company is a fun way to engage your readers, as well as make it appealing for future employees.

- Remind your loyal customers that they can leave you a recommendation. Nothing reaches further than personal experience! 

- Use brand-specific colors and phrases. Make sure your branding comes through in your postings, and add in videos or pictures for any content that is more than just words.

In our next blog, we will discuss how to create and participate in LinkedIn Groups, and how to use them to propel your brand forward.

Recommended Links:

LinkedIn’s Company Pages Home Page

LinkedIn’s Company Pages Overview Video

Our Top 3 Tips for LinkedIn Beginners

FrontGate’s Social Media Tips Archive

 

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Top 3 LinkedIn Tips for Beginners

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This has probably happened to you recently…an onslaught of emails that say someone “added you as a connection on LinkedIn”, or they keep “inviting” you to join their network. The only problem is…you aren’t sure what that that means. Why should you use LinkedIn? What do you gain from adding or including people in your network? We’re here to help you navigate this professional social network, and show you how it can help you leverage yourself and your brand.

-What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn was started in 2003, and has over 259 million members, with 84 million of those located here in the U.S.. It is the world’s largest professional network, and over 3 million companies use the company pages feature.  LinkedIn has become the leader in business to business social media interaction. (Source: LinkedIn.com.)

-How do I sign up? What does it cost? 

If you aren’t already involved, then creating your personal account is relatively fast and easy. Best of all, it’s free!  It asks you to fill in a summary, which is a section about your overall qualifications and career choices. Then, you can fill in your previous and current employment, and your personal profile page becomes quite similar to a resume. Think of it as your Facebook-page-meets-a-cover-letter. You can add a photo, and then add contacts and networks, much like Facebook. You can search for contacts and networks in the search bar, or you can use your email contacts (sending an invite will email your colleagues to tell them you’ve joined). You can also pay for a premium account, which unlocks additional jobs and networks.  The paid accounts are VERY useful to those seeking to expand their networks by reaching out to key people at their target companies or in their target industries.

-What can I do on LinkedIn?

In one word: NETWORK!  You can search for jobs, find old colleagues, and list your previous experience. Companies who are part of the social network can search for qualified candidates based on keywords, so it may help you find a great job. It can also help you discover others who are in your field, who may be helpful resources for you. Your page is a great place to send a prospective employer a resume (though if they request a standard paper resume, be sure to follow their directions!)  It can be a good place to store your information for use in creating a resume later on. You can even use their “resume builder”, which uses the information  you entered.

Here are FrontGate’s TOP 3 TIPS FOR BEGINNERS just starting to use LinkedIn:

-Keep it current and professional! We can’t emphasize this enough…if someone goes to your page, make sure it’s up to date, and professional. Check your spelling, grammar, and phrases. Double check links, webpages, and blogs you place  there, and make sure your photo is a good resolution for viewing.  We found 400×400 to be a great size.  Be mindful of your status updates.  LinkedIn is all about professional networking, so leave your vacation pictures on Facebook. Post work related content that is relevant to your professional life.

-Utilize the groups and suggested people in your network: Make sure you check and approve “requests” (like friend requests) which will expand your network and keep your page fluid. Check your page periodically and make sure to “endorse” others with whom you have worked (this is like a recommendation), and you can request they do the same. Word of mouth about your work will look terrific when employers or clients are viewing your page. Make sure you check out the groups you want to join by clicking “demographics” and seeing their activity.

-Turn off activity notifications: If you are concerned about keeping your activities more private, you can go to “privacy and settings” and click the setting that allows only you view your activity. This is a good professional move, particularly if you’re job hunting and want to keep it quiet until you make a decision. Plus, you won’t annoy everyone in your network (and even prospective employers) by showing them how much you are surfing their page!

In our next blog, we’ll discuss our top tips on how companies can use LinkedIn.

Click this link to follow FrontGate on LinkedIn

 Never be out of the loop again; follow our blog here to keep up with the latest trends, statistics and news about social media. 

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Marketing Tip: Using Facebook to Promote Your Non-Profit Brand

imagesFacebook is a useful tool for all brands and companies, but can be particularly useful for those who are marketing Christian cause or non-profit brands. Though Facebook can be a treasure trove of resources, some users are confused or lost when they venture onto the social media platform with their cause or company. We have rounded up tips and tricks to help you make the most of Facebook, and move your cause to the top of the list!

-Did you know that there is a whole page on Facebook dedicated to encouraging non-profit organizations? For those who are just starting out, it has some really handy tips on increasing audience reach and statistics. It’s a great resource for beginners, but even seasoned Facebook users will find answers to key questions as well. You can click here to go to Facebook’s non-profits page.

-Facebook has an official policy about text and ads, and you will need to make sure any promoted content abides by their policy. If you’re unfamiliar with it, be sure to read Facebook’s policy. It discusses their 20% rule about text, to make the images and advertisements more reader friendly and visually attractive. Creating compelling ad content will help when and if you choose to go the advertising route.

-If you’re unsure how to create ads that specifically will increase your website conversion rates, click that link and then select “website conversion“.  The info there will specifically grow the numbers related to your site, which is great for non-Facebook posts like blogs or campaigns. Using this ad creator allows your to specify the kind of growth you want, even including Facebook specific items such as “likes” (useful for brands who primarily use Facebook as marketing versus a traditional website upkeep).

-Use the features that are available right on your Facebook page. One such tool is the “Questions” tool, where you can create a poll-like question to engage your readers. You may ask for ideas about improvement, or the type of content they want to see. You can do multiple choice questions, so you may pose one like, “What kind of content do you like seeing the most?”, and put choices like “blogs, special events, or articles”. You can also create a store right on your page, if you have brand specific products (such as tee shirts or stickers, etc). There is a great tutorial for creating a store on Facebook. “Causes” is another useful aspect of Facebook that can benefit your non-profit. There’s a great discussion here that goes into more detail.

-Above all, CREATE ENGAGING CONTENT. That’s what all social media comes down to!  Offer exclusive Facebook content such as an interview with a staff member, or an inspiring story which make great video exclusives. You want to post content that will draw your readers in. Don’t just link every single blog and web update to your Facebook, or you will lose traffic to the website or the social media page, because readers will catch on quickly. Remember, respect the intelligence of your readers and your fans, and they will reward you with “likes” and comments!

Want more help? Check out all FrontGate has to offer your company by reading about our offered services here

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Making YouTube Work For Your Brand

youtube_1There are over 100 hours of content loaded to YouTube every hour, and over 1 billion users visit the site in a given month. With all of this content, how do you set yourself apart? YouTube, and in the faith-based market GodTube, are more intimidating platforms than Facebook, because the idea of making videos can be stressful and more expensive. Even though your company or brand may be active on Facebook, Twitter, and Klout, if you neglect YouTube, you will miss out on a massive audience by not taking on the challenge. It’s not as scary as it looks, we promise!

Good content doesn’t mean expensive content: Guess what? There are a wealth of people who would be willing to help you create content for your brand! Check with your local university or colleges to find students who are majoring in graphic or media design. They often will be willing to work for a lower fee or for free in exchange for exposure to their work. This is a great way to experiment with YouTube and see what your viewers respond to. Have no budget, ask your fans and followers to see if there are any volunteers, just remember that you often get what you pay for.

Posting all the time isn’t the key to popularity: Posting regularly is a good idea, and will benefit your exposure and ratings on YouTube, but posting meaningless content too frequently can actually lower your ratings and cause your subscribers to unsubscribe from your “channel”. Longer content has also been shown to deflect viewers, as the optimum length has been shown to be around 2.5-3 minutes.

When you do post, make your tags relevant and specific: When  you post a video, be sure to use specific tags. Let’s say you post a video about a faith-based musical artist. Tagging the video, “music” and “Christian” will not get you views, since your video will become lost in the multitudes of uploaded content. Instead, use their specific artist name, and perhaps the name of the song or album that you are promoting. BTW – Research shows that music videos do especially well on YouTube. Remember, it’s about views, favorites, and shares…these launch your brand to the top of the pages, so being very targeted to reach the right people is a good thing.

Double up on promotion by using Facebook and Twitter to share your links: By sharing your links throughout all your social networks, you accomplish two purposes: you get fresh content onto your other social pages, and you spread the video links in more prominent places. Using every platform you can makes sure your brand is towards the top of the ratings pages in every area (source).

Still feeling lost? FrontGate offers the best in Social Media Services, and can help launch your brand to the forefront to create lasting impact with the faith-based audience. You can find information on what we can do for you today by clicking the link above.

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Social Media Tips – Facebook’s Biggest Flaw

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When Facebook made the shift from “friend pages” to groups and fan pages, it created some frustration for those who are administrators.  If you are an admin of one of these pages, you know that it’s great to gather and gain new fans, and to share your content with them. However, if you are “liked” by a fan who you would like to remove, there isn’t a way to easily remove them.

In what just may be Facebook’s biggest flaw, they offer no way for page administrators to mass admin their fans and followers.

When does this create a problem?

-When fans likes your page, but then target you with ads or viruses.

-When you are targeted by an anti-faith group or people who are posting inappropriate content on your page, or messaging you through the page.

Not only is having to manage fans one at a time a tedious and time consuming problem, it only gets worse if your faith-based page gets attacked by a group of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of “fans” who aren’t in your target  audience at all, but show up because of a spammer, a coordinated attack, or from Facebook’s “boost post” advertising.

Also if you are primarily reaching a U.S. based audience, what can you do about a mass of fake fans who’ve liked your page from Eastern Europe or other parts of the world?  Right now, almost nothing.  You have to review every fan one by one which is possible at 10 fans, a pain at 100 fans, tedious at 1,000 fans, and aggravating at 10,000 or more fans.

So what to do?  For now, this is the the only tedious option.

When you are looking at your page as an admin, you can easily see the number of likes you have. However, if you have personal friends who “like” your page, it brings them up as the ones shown instead of your entire list of likes. The best way to find ALL your fans is to go to your admin page and click the box that says, “see all”.

Picture 4 You can then click the X to delete a fan and then click “ban permanently” if desired. This a tedious step, and can only delete one fan at a time.  This is a significant source of frustration for many people, as evidenced by multiple questions and forums on Facebook, Yahoo and similar sites.

Facebook needs to get their act together on this problem and give their community a better option for managing and deleting fans right from the comment or posting page, and in mass if needed based on the same criteria they provide reporting on, which would make it much faster and easier for the administrator.

 

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Social Media Tips – Avoiding the Burnout

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In this age of technology, social media never sleeps. But when you are trying to stay current, and stay engaged, it can end up taking a heavy toll on your personal life, your time, and even in some cases your health.

Here are tips to staying healthy and happy while keeping your brand 100% engaged with your customers.

-Pick a day to unplug…and then really do it. Power down the smartphone (no peeking!), and take a day off. Plan activities with your family, and schedule posts accordingly so there is still fresh content on your pages. You can easily schedule tweets, Facebook, and blog posts.

-Trust your staff/interns, and equip them to do their job. If you have a team of people who help you handle your social media, then help them do their job. Give them the images they need, whether in a Dropbox type service online, or via a folder on a shared computer.  Help them create content calendars, so they can see what’s expected from them. Try to avoid stepping in to “do it yourself”; rather than helping them become self-sufficient. If it’s just you, then reread tip #1 above.

-Trust your numbers, but don’t live your life by them. Don’t stress yourself out over minimal drops in engagement. Check your scores and numbers once a day, and then move on. Continue doing the best work that you can, but trust your instincts and put out great content.

-Increase your engagement by putting out quality content…every single time. Don’t slack off and put out half-hearted copy or posts simply for the sake of putting something up. Consumers can see right through thinly masked effort, and they will stop trusting you. Build trust by putting in your strongest effort so you can work smarter, not harder.

Want more help with coordinating your social media? FrontGate has pushed many faith-based brands to the forefront, and is ready to help you! Click here  for all the details. 

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Christian Advertising – Analysis of a Direct Email Ad

Does anyone read direct emails anymore? ABSOLUTELY!

Direct email continues to be one of the most effective forms of engagement to the faith-based audience.

But it’s not just about sending out a pretty picture via email. In fact, sending out an email that is just a pretty picture actually decreases your response rate.  See why in our previous article about Christian advertising via direct email. When the ad content is curated correctly, it will help boost the number of clicks and reads that a direct email can generate. It can be difficult to find a good format for direct emails to consumers, but here are a few guidelines to keep in mind that may help streamline the process.

- Keep the graphics clean and relevant to the subject matter. Too many conflicting images and messages can make the reader feel confused, and can make it unclear what is being promoted. You want the reader to instantly understand the core message as they are scanning their inbox. KEEP IT SIMPLE

- Make sure your links are working, and are easily seen. Don’t try to hide or conceal links where readers will not be able to find them. Adding a simple box line around areas that are linked is a nice way to direct the reader’s eye to that spot.  TEST EVERY LINK, and if offering a promo code of any kind, do a live test using your code.

- Offer something that helps personalize it for the reader. Exclusive content, a coupon code, or something similar will help provide an incentive for the reader to stay engaged.  ENGAGE PERSONALLY.

Here is an example of a well done direct email ad from our friends at Zondervan:

Messiah: Origin

What works about this design: The fonts and graphics are clean, simple and are cohesive. The text to image ratio in the HTML file is right about at the minimum of 50/50.   The color scheme is warm and inviting, and the black accents make it easy to read. The links are outlined with a white border, and it is easy to understand the product that is being promoted. It follows a good Z pattern for advertising design Additionally, there is a direct benefit offer phrased as a call to action to to download a free chapter of the book, which is a nice touch, and gives the reader something that feels “exclusive”.

Finally, be sure to spend more time on your SUBJECT LINE than you spend on the look of your direct email ad.  If the subject line doesn’t get the subscriber to open and view your ad, then your perfect ad design has achieved nothing.

If you would like more help and resources on marketing to your audience, FrontGate Media can provide the assistance and guidance you need! Click here for more information. 

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Crowdfunding Tips – FaithLauncher for Christian Crowdfunding

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These days, it seems like every group or new project is using some sort of crowdfunding site. When raising funds for faith-based project, you are faced with navigating the hordes of sites for one that meets your standards for integrity and honesty.

FaithLauncher. unlike similar sites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, eliminates the kind of questionable content found on other mainstream sites, and also allows the fundraising group to keep the funds raised even if they don’t meet their entire goal.

The layout of launching your faith-based crowdfunding project also is simple and clear-cut, making it ideal for those who aren’t familiar or comfortable with using a computer or lots of new programs.

Best of all, it’s free to create your “page” and project.

Here are some crowdfunding tips:

  • It’s very important for campaigners to do the preliminary work of building their social media presence in advance of activating any crowdfunding site. Developing a responsive social network has proven to be a core factor for successful crowdfunding campaigns on sites like FaithLauncher, Kickstarter and so on.
  • Successful campaigns have compelling rewards. Fernando Chavez, FaithLauncher CEO, states, “Effective reward tiers spark enthusiasm in potential donors and heighten their motivation to give to a campaign. Contributors are also more apt to engage their social networks about pursuing rewards that are coveted, meaningful, uncommon, or have limited availability.
  • compelling pitch video is vital to a successful crowdfunding campaign. Great campaign videos get to the point with energy and a powerful, concise story that moves their audience. Humor also works. Don’t think that you need to do a Hollywood production, but good lighting and sound are important.
  • Set a savvy funding goal. There are a several variables in play, including how much money you need for your project, but taking a proactive approach to setting the target amount for your campaign begins with identifying your core stake holders, friends, likely donors, and influencers who you know will help get you there and will help expand your reach.

Now that you know a bit more about crowdfunding, check out FrontGate Web Network member FaithLauncher.com.

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Social Media Tip – Instructions for Navigating the Facebook Pages Tool

facebookWhen setting up a Facebook Page for your faith-based brand or company using the “Pages” application, it can become quite confusing to understand what you should fill in for each section of the page.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to what each section means for you, your ministry or product/service, and your faith-based brand.

After setting up your title and website information, click “edit page”, and this is what you’ll see:

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Name: This is where your company, organization or product name goes. Use proper punctuation and spacing so that your name is easily searchable.

Page Address: This is your Facebook web address, which you will set up when you create the page. It is what appears after the slash in the web address, i.e. “Facebook.com/mynewbrand”.

Category: There is a drop down list of categories for you to select from, including church and religious based organizations. Select the closest category to what your organization represents, but don’t be discouraged if it is slightly off base. They are wide, vague categories.

Topics: The three words have to be keywords Facebook already has associated with other pages, so you may have to try a variety of words before you find the ones that work for you. You must choose all three at one time, so focus on using keywords that someone may search for, even if they’re not as specific as you’d like. You want to be “found” in the search results pages that Facebook generates.

Start info and Address: This is the date when you created your page, and your physical address if applicable. If you don’t have a physical business address, or don’t feel comfortable listing it (for example, if your ministry is run out of your home, or if you don’t want your location to be public knowledge), you can just leave that blank.

Short Description: Try to keep this description length to around one short paragraph. It is the succinct version of what your organization or brand is all about. If it’s too wordy, readers may mentally ‘check out’.  A good analogy is to think of this section as your elevator pitch; something you could tell a stranger in just a few sentences.

Long Description: Here is where you can delve into more history about your ministry or business.  Your might add depth and interest by including when the organization was started, and any obstacles you have overcome. It is also helpful to consider adding Bible verses or Scriptures that have been meaningful to the overall vision, especially for a faith-based ministry.  A quote from the founder can also lend a personal touch. Aim for connecting with your prospective new followers.

Mission: A good question to ask yourself when filling this portion out, would be, “Why was this organization or brand started”? For example, if it is a non-profit that helps underprivileged children, a sample sentence would be, “Our mission is to reach underprivileged children in the Detroit area with the love of Christ. We do this through offering free school supplies and clothing to those in need.” Try to be concise here, since other information is more appropriate in the long description.

Founded: Enter the date when your organization was founded. This is different that the “start” date, which is when your page first appeared on Facebook.

Awards: Enter any significant awards won or recognition received.  Try to stick to awards that readers will recognize here, versus unknown ones which can make you appear to be “padding your organizational resume”.

For more Social Media Tips or Marketing Tips in general, be sure to check back often to our blog, and remember that FrontGate offers extensive Social Media Services.  We would be happy to manage the social media content and growth process for you! 

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