Faith-based media and marketing

Archive for the 'Social Media Tips' Category

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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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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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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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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Facebook Changes Policy – Allows Users to Create Contests Directly

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Up until last week, Facebook required pages to run contests through some kind of third party app. This had caused some page owners to shy away from the concept of having to use yet another app to run a contest for their fans or Facebook friends, and Facebook users to have turned away from contests because they would have to allow access to yet another app.

With changes made by Facebook last week, administrators of pages can now use Facebook itself to run a contest without having to utilize a third party app.

 What does this mean to faith-based marketers?  This change directly helps ministry and company brands who are seeking to use social media to increase their audience and build both awareness and interaction.

Here are some of the ways you can use benefit from this change:

 -Faith-based organizations can now create giveaways, and have users enter simply by liking your page. Increasing your likes increases your reach, since your future updates will appear in the new fan’s page.

-You can also create a giveaway where users enter by commenting on or liking a post on your page. Utilizing this feature means you can promote a particular photo or posting and therefore increase its ranking and/or reach as well.

-You can also create a giveaway that has users message your page. This will not work on a personal page, but does on fan pages.  You can tell the difference between pages based those that have the ability to be “liked’. Pages that can be liked can utlize this option.  This is the least marketing-friendly option, since users’ messages will not be public, but it does offer ease to Facebook friends/fans.

You can read all about the new Facebook Contest changes here. Remember to bookmark the FrontGate blog so you can stay updated on the latest faith-based marketing and social media tips.  You’ll get to learn from our experience serving as “Your Gateway to the Christian Audience.”

For more tips, explore our tips archives for Faith-based Marketing in general, or specifically for Social Media.

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Social Media and Building Your Brand – Part 2

social-mediaSome marketers seeking the faith-based, Christian audience know what they want to accomplish, but they are unsure how to execute the ideas they have. Today in Part 2 of our series on Social Media and Building Your Brand is where we delve further into the “how” of building your brand; particularly how to build a usable focus group, and how to make a style guide.

Focus Groups: Once you have utilized social media or other statistical data to find your demographic (see Part 1 for more information on this,) a good size for a focus group is around seven to eight people. This ensures you will not be overwhelmed with too many opinions, but that you will also have a good variation of thoughts.

Developing a standardized questionnaire will keep your data organized and easy to file and access as you review it. Aim for a ten question form. Participants don’t need to write down their names, in order to provide anonymity. Try to keep it to one double-sided sheet, in order to keep their attention, and don’t forget to provide pens or pencils. Some examples of useful branding questions are: “What do you like about the current logo? What would you change?”, or “Do you feel the current company tag line reflects what we provide?”. Keep the questions open ended and reflective, so the participants can say more than “yes” and “no”.

Style Guide: A style guide is a valuable tool for any marketer. It can be as detailed or as concise as you want, but can help your staff and outside partners to stay cohesive. Generally, a style guide is a document that shows the types of fonts, phrases, tag lines, and colors that are approved to be associated with use of your brand. You can also outline which versions of a logo are appropriate in which places, for example: The simple logo without text can be used on apparel and hats. The logo with text is appropriate for letterhead and professional stationary.

The guide should be accessible online in a place where employees and personnel can easily find and use it. This is especially helpful for social media, where multiple people posting content can create confusion and disrupt your effort to standardize your brand. Let’s say your style of copy on Facebook is casual, and in first person. That information can go into the style guide for reference, so anyone posting can stay consistent with the casual form of speech.

Please also catch up on the first article in this Social Media Marketing series, if you missed it, or browse our Social Media Tips archive.

Do you need more help with building a consistent brand on social media platforms? FrontGate specializes in helping companies maintain and create successful social media campaigns.

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Social Media and Building Your Brand – Part 1

 FrontGate Social Media

When building a brand from the ground up or re-branding, one of the main goals is recognizability on social media. Achieving this goal is incredibly difficult, but Social Media can help you through focus, cohesion, and streamlining. 

Focus: The dreaded phrase “focus group” elicits a feeling of sheer terror among most marketers these days, but it is one of your most valuable assets. You don’t necessarily need physical people anymore, now that Google Analytics and Facebook offer such comprehensive statistics, but people will always voice the best thoughts. View your focus group as a platform, instead of an obligation. What should you look for in a focus group? Obviously, your focus group should consist of your target demographic. (If you are unsure of your target demographic, your Facebook feed/analytics will tell you who they are!) It could be twenty-somethings for a modern worship site, or book club gals to test out some new novels,  but be sure to find willing, involved participants and utilize their enthusiasm. A strong focus group will consist of seven to eight people and a standardized questionnaire with open-ended questions (We will touch more on how to create a questionnaire in part two).

Cohesion: This is perhaps your biggest asset in the goal of recognizability. Creating and maintaining cohesion will help you raise your brand from anonymous to known. Cohesion begins with  a great logo. If you don’t have a logo, begin your search for a designer whose vision aligns with yours. If you see great companies who are similar to yours, save the images and show them to the designer so they can see what inspires you.  At the start, your logo will most likely be accompanied by text of some sort, so find a clean font that translates well to web as well to as print. Keep in mind that a logo/text duo that shines on Facebook also has to translate onto the micro-avatar on Twitter, so think readable and not too busy. Use that same font in as many print and online materials as you can, such as web copy. This will help your readers associate that font/design with your brand.

Streamline: Branding on social media means that many of your posts will go from Facebook straight to Twitter, or from Instagram to Facebook, etc. Make sure you update all your sites with the correct links, and check them all manually to make sure that nothing happened in the in-between time as the sites are linked together. Don’t entrust precious posts to the mercy of broken links and too-long captions, as these can be perceived as somewhat careless. You want your readers to have access to your content quickly and easily.

Keeping these three keys in mind will make your social media interactions the strongest they can be, and will imprint your brand on the minds and screens of your readers.

In Part 2, we will explain how to use your focus group, and how to create a style guide.

Do you want to take your social media marketing to a new level in reaching the faith-based audience? FrontGate can help you do that! Click here for all the information. 

 

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The Power of Photos – 3 Ways to SAY Something with Your Social Pics

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With the growing popularity of visual social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, photo sharing is now more important than ever before. Imagery has also become a vital part of engaging with consumers (and potential customers) on Facebook and Twitter. If pictures really are worth a thousand words, then as Christian marketers, we should be using visual images that say something about our faith-based products and services. A variety of visuals should be an integral part of our media mix.

When posting a photo to any social media platform, the end goal should always be for consumers to share it. The more “shares” or “pins” you receive, the farther your reach. It’s simple, really:

More shares = More exposure for your brand, product or service

Of course, when something becomes popular, competition is greater, which means marketers have to get more creative and intentional about the images they share. Here are a few helpful tips for photo sharing:

1. Stay on-brand. Make sure all of your images reflect your brand. Don’t just post photos randomly ad nauseum. Be intentional about what you post and when you post, and make sure all imagery points back to your specific brand or product. A great way to do this is by providing your official website at the bottom of every image. (Note: the url should be small so as not to take away from the image, but large enough to read).

2. Be creative. Stay ahead of your competition by finding fun and unusual ways to engage consumers through imagery pointing to your brand. Quotes are extremely shareable and effective. Have a professional designer create web-friendly images containing song lyrics from one of your artist’s songs or a quote from one of your author’s books. Visuals are also a great way to share Scripture. Post personal, candid shots in real time from live concerts, book signings, speaking engagements, trade shows and other events. Create online galleries to organize your photos to make it easy for consumers to view them.

3. Tell a great story. Above all, allow your images to tell the story of your brand, product or service. So much so, that if you gathered all of the images you post together, you could create a cohesive collage that accurately defines the product, service or brand you are promoting. Make sure your images are telling a story you’re proud of, a story that engages them, excites them and gives them reasons to follow you, friend you or like you. Above all, make sure you’re telling a story worth sharing.

For some examples of picture posts, see the posting streams at a couple of our client’s Facebook pages:  Every Man Ministries and Prayer Bowls.

What story are you telling with your social images?

Let FrontGate brainstorm some creative ways to integrate imagery into your social media strategy. Click here for more info.

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