Not Just Boat Poses and Downward Dogs: How A Yoga Studio Leveraged Social Media to Grow Its Brand

By Kate Goldberg, guest blogger for Resourceful Business

“Pull over and let me out,” I beg. We are navigating some pretty tricky roads through the Berkshires in a driving rainstorm, but for me, this is the perfect moment – and backdrop – to capture and post my yoga pose-of-the-day.

Semi-dramatic scenes like this were part of my daily routine in July when I participated in a month-long social media campaign run by Powerflow Yoga, a New Jersey yoga outpost with 10 locations. Contestants like myself eagerly awaited the studio’s daily morning post on Instagram with a specific pose to recreate. Students had until midnight every day for the entire month to upload their own interpretation of the pose to Instagram while using the hashtag #SummerofPower, as well as a basic tag to @powerflowyoganj. The reward was a free month of unlimited classes to all who completed the challenge.

In today’s digital environment, many businesses use social media contests as a marketing tool. This approach allows companies to interact with consumers in a more casual, and entertaining way. The content may be unconventional, but if run effectively, social media campaigns like #SummerofPower can be even more successful than traditional marketing strategies at a fraction of the cost.

Social media campaigns like #SummerofPower can be even more successful than traditional marketing strategies at a fraction of the cost.

Here are four digital marketing insights I gained through Powerflow’s challenge that demonstrate the value of an effective social media contest:

1. Social media marketing builds brand loyalty

Throughout the month, I often logged on for the pose-of-the-day before I had even poured my morning coffee! I became extremely passionate and dedicated to the challenge, and I was always looking for unique scenery where someone could take my photo. I did a backbend on a cliff, a crow pose while crossing a footbridge, and a forearm stand overlooking the ocean. It made me feel great about my practice, and motivated me to get back into the studio whenever possible. The buzz surrounding the contest was palpable in classes, and I quickly learned that most people had an experience very similar to my own. This social media challenge was successful at creating a positive vibe, both in-studio and on Instagram, which in turn made everyone feel good about the Powerflow brand.

2. Social media brings exposure to untapped audiences

In a Pew Research Center Social Networking Fact Sheet, researchers found that 74% of online adults use social networking websites. Powerflow capitalized on that trend with their contest. By requiring students to use Instagram in order to participate in the challenge, current customers who were not already following Powerflow now had to do so. In addition, through the several hundred contestants sharing a total of 8,440 photos and tagging the studio each day, they were able to gain exposure to a previously untapped audience. As a result, Powerflow added 700 new followers, and according to VP of Operations, Alison McCue, it was the studio’s “largest and fastest digital growth” since they’ve been online.

“#SummerofPower was also used to promote all of our free outdoor classes…and the response was overwhelming,” said McCue.

3. Social media contests can lever the marketing of other events

There is no doubt that the Summer of Power yoga challenge gave Powerflow a captive audience that used Instagram to track the studio daily. Powerflow Yoga maximized this opportunity with a contest hashtag and leveraging the marketing of other studio events taking place during July. “#SummerofPower was also used to promote all of our free outdoor classes…and the response was overwhelming,” said McCue. Evidently, the social media campaign built some serious in-house momentum, along with the potential for a new client base.

yoga studio social media contest

4. Contest prizes incentivize social media sharing

Powerflow did a great job designating a reward that would keep people sharing photos and tagging the studio day after day. A free month of yoga is worth a lot of money to anyone who practices, and the promise of that at the end of the month was certainly enough to keep me going! A business needs to know their patron, and understand what will entice them to follow through with any type of social media contest. Whether it is a free tee shirt, a complimentary membership, or simple bragging rights, different incentives work for different consumers.

Social Media can grow a company’s brand and audience reach

Social media contests are an innovative, cost-effective way of reinforcing a company’s brand and have the potential for exponential reach. Many of the Summer of Power participants purchased packages after completing their free month. Another boon to the Studio, of the 223 people who completed the Powerflow Yoga challenge, 22 gifted their free month and 7 of those gifted purchased some type of package offered at Powerflow Yoga.

A recent marketing Infographic projects that social marketing budgets will double over the next five years. In order to stay ahead of the curve, businesses will need to follow the Powerflow Yoga lead and build and maintain a social media presence using everything from Instagram and Facebook, to Twitter, LinkedIn and beyond. The Summer of Power is a great example of a creative and savvy social media strategy that resonated with an audience and inspired them to come back for more.


Interested in talking social media strategy? Contact us.

 

Why You Must Fix Your Company’s Social Media Imagery and How

When you look at your company Facebook page or Twitter banner, do you feel uninspired? As you scroll down the content, do you see images that convey a totally different feel than what you would like your company’s digital presence to be? Is your content full of free stock images or perhaps lacks images altogether? These problems are just a few signs that it is time to overhaul your company’s social media.

Pictures make a huge difference to the success of your social media strategy. They drive engagement and ultimately referrals back to your website. The problem is that setting up social media accounts is just plain time consuming; and some aspects of it, such as understanding image size requirements, licensing and file types are fairly technical. Social media without great imagery, however, is an opportunity missed. Regardless of the social networks you choose for your business, here’s why you must fix your company’s social media imagery and how.

Images are branding opportunities

Every social media network has different image options and layouts which allow you to customize your company profile page, and these present branding opportunities. There are places for logos, banners and backgrounds, all of which can showcase your brand and great imagery. Pictures can show your company’s products, conjure up thoughts that inspire a consumer to want your services or just be clever and eye-catching. Captivating imagery will reinforce your brand and keep viewers on your page where they can learn more about your company.

For a simple fix, first look up image size requirements for the social network you are using or use a guide such as Hubspot’s Cheat Sheet, and upload custom imagery for your cover photos. Make sure you include your logo in some creative way. If you are not proficient in tools like Photoshop, there are numerous free apps which have social media templates you can use. Hubspot offers a set of  PowerPoint templates, so there is no expensive software required, and you can download your finished cover photo once complete.

Images lead to higher engagement

According to The Social Media Examiner, photos have an 87% engagement rate on Facebook, far more than text posts of any length. Similarly, in What Fuels a Tweet’s Engagement, Media Blog shows that retweets are boosted by 35% when there is a photo attached. Tweets with images take up more visual real estate and are more likely to grab someone’s attention. As the old adage goes, “Pictures are worth a thousand words,” and if your posts lack images, your social media engagement will be lacking too.

social media imagery provokes the imagination

Images provoke the imagination

Powerful marketing utilizes imagery for a reason. Pictures can tease the imagination and make us dream of going somewhere exotic on vacation, winning the lottery or even looking younger. Imagery is far more likely than text to capture someone’s attention and inspire them to click-through to learn more.

As well, colors can affect the decisions we make. For example, blue is often associated with trust, green with wealth and pink with romance. Colors are emotive, and therefore, another powerful tool that can be used with imagery to spark the imagination.

Images drive sales

Not surprisingly, fantastic product pictures can lead to product sales. According to Jeff Bullas, a prominent social media strategist, “In an ecommerce site, 67% of consumers say that the quality of a product image is ‘very important’ in selecting and purchasing a product.” Social media is a perfect platform to post high quality product images and link them directly back to your ecommerce store.

If you are concerned that a product photo shoot is beyond your budget, purchase a portable box kit which includes photo diffusion panels, color backdrops, a camera mount and lights. They are available for around $50 and will give your pictures a professional look.

you can tell stories with social media images

Images can tell a story

People love a good story. Pictures and videos can tell your product, service or company story far more effectively than written content. If you are able to convey a compelling story with images, consumers will want to be a part of it. Plus, pictures are more easily consumed and they are universal, so a critical tool for large global brands.

Not surprisingly, short videos have much higher user engagement than longer ones. In “The optimal length for video marketing content? As short as possible,”  Yoav Hornung explains that the shorter the video, the more likely that someone will hit PLAY. With a number of free editing apps for smartphones and tablets available, it is easy to create and add some product or service videos to your social media.

Free Image Sources

If you’re sold on the leverage that images bring to social media, but not quite sure how to begin, start by bookmarking a few free image websites. Here are three of my favorites: Unsplash, Jay Mantri and Picography. Another option, Google Images, allows you to specify usage restrictions, so you can search for images on the internet that are free to use or share and in the public domain. Also, keep your smartphone with you, and if you see a photo opportunity, take it! Build your own library of images. Then create social media posts with pictures and begin to monitor what types of photos engage your audience best. To customize the pictures, use a simple photo editing app like Canva.

Spending the time and energy adding pictures to your social media will boost engagement and convey your message in a compelling way. If you still need some assistance getting started, the Resourceful Business can help energize your social media with images and guide your social strategy. Contact us.

social media content

5 Shortcuts to Finding and Managing Great Social Media Content

For small business owners, there are never enough hours in the day. They juggle business strategy, production schedules, bookkeeping, payroll, marketing, human resources, content management and social media. It is no surprise that with such a long to-do list, social media marketing can fall by the wayside leading to inconsistent content posts and mundane points. But, there is hope for small business owners in pursuit of a social strategy filled with relevant, noteworthy and interesting topics that will engage their clients. Here are 5 shortcuts to finding and managing great social media content.

Set up News Feeds for Aggregation

Every industry has websites and electronic newsletters covering topics that are worth following. Feedly.com is one service that helps aggregate news feeds of interest, and you can create custom lists to follow. Our company, for example, manages content for multiple clients and we set up a custom list for each client, which collects stories from relevant news feeds in their industry. Another aggregation tool I really like is GetPocket.com. By installing the Chrome extension for Pocket or Feedly on your browser, you can upload any articles you want to read with a mouse click and even tag the articles. If you would like news to come directly to your Inbox, another option is to set up a Google Alert, www.google.com/alerts, a notification system based on keywords. Google Alerts will send you a list of relevant articles based off of your keywords and found in search as they happen, daily or weekly.

Follow Blogs by Industry Thought Leaders

follow blogs by other thought leadersEvery field has thought leaders or individuals who are blogging and of interest to you. It is fun and educational to follow and engage with them. Their blogs also provide relevant social content that you can share. Feedly.com allows you to follow blogs, so it is a great option for both news feeds and blogs. Often bloggers post their blogs on Facebook pages as opposed to WordPress or other blogging platforms. In that case, Liking the Page will do the trick and you can receive notifications of new blog posts. Another easy way to follow a blog is to click the RSS feed button if the blog has one. Typically, you will get an option to choose a Feed Reader service which will show all of the new blogs posted from the website and sometimes an option to receive an email alert. RSS feeds are often a point of real confusion amongst our clients, so here is a brief tutorial should you choose to try the RSS feed route, What is RSS.

Search for Content by Hashtag

hashtagsIn the context of social media, the pound sign is called a hashtag. A tool first used on Twitter, hashtags group topics and allow the reader to search and follow those topics through a clickable link. You can look for what is Trending on Twitter, and then even build some of your own social content around trending topics with high user engagement. You can also identify hashtags and related hashtags on relevant subjects with tools like Hashtagify.me. Once you have identified the hashtags you want to follow, set up a free Tagboard using the hashtag and you will get a fabulous visual of all of the trending content linked to that hashtag. Since all of the major social media platforms are using hashtags, creating great content means learning both how to deploy hashtags in your posts as well as how to use them to search for content.

Manage your Content with a Social Media Management Tool

After finding or creating your social media content, there are a number of tools you can use to schedule and manage it. Two of the most popular social media management tools are Buffer and Hootsuite. These platforms permit a user to post content to several social media accounts simultaneously, see user engagement and respond. User-friendly dashboards display character counts and image previews. Posts can be scheduled by day and time, so content postings can be input in advance. Many of the social media management tools offer news feed links right in the dashboard, so users can follow relevant content and then post it right from the news feed.

Nothing equates in value to original, creative content written by you.

Create Original Content

Most importantly, take the time to write your own content. Nothing equates in value to original, creative content written by you. If you like sharing interesting articles, write headlines yourself and post them on social media. If you blog, write about interesting trends in your industry. Answer common questions in your field of expertise. Summarize an interesting conference that you attended or offer a unique point of view on a controversial subject. Can’t think of a topic? Try the really fun, Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. You simply enter three keywords and then the algorithm will give you a week’s worth of blog topics. In short, although thoughtful social media content takes time to write and develop, it is well worth it because you will slowly establish a following on social media and build a respected online voice.

Hopefully, these shortcuts will save you time and help you find and manage great social media content. If you think there still aren’t enough hours in the day to do your social media marketing, contact us. We can customize and implement a content management strategy for your business that is timely, consistent and engaging!

tools to measure whether social media is working

5 Tools That Will Tell You If Your Social Media Strategy is Working

A great social media campaign takes patience, thought and energy. The Return on Investment (ROI) is not always immediate, and many small businesses start using social media only to abandon it months later. The key to a successful social media strategy is customer “engagement,” which is defined as interactions in the form of likes, tweets, favorites, click-throughs, page views or even comments on a blog. If you have the type of business that does not get many Facebook comments or likes, for example, it does not mean your social media campaign isn’t working, but rather that you may need to dig a little deeper to analyze your customer engagement.

Understanding engagement is essential to figuring out the types of social media that will help grow your business. Here are five tools that will tell you whether your social media strategy is working.

Level of Engagement

One of the easiest ways to analyze social media success is to consider the campaign engagement relative to the average. The average engagement is lower than you might think, and I like to look at www.socialbakers.com for updated statistics. Socialbakers compile their data based upon monitored social media pages. As a rule of thumb, engagement of 1% or higher is considered good, but as the number of followers you have increases, the engagement level declines markedly so adjust your expectations accordingly. However, 1% engagement is a reasonable benchmark for a successful social media campaign.

Geographic Reach

If you use Twitter, tools like SocialBro can give you demographic information about your followers, including their geographic location and language.This tool will allow you to group your followers into lists and monitor what topics engage them, what times your tweets attract the most engagement and who the top influencers are in your area of interest. You can change the demographics and look at similar information in a competitor’s area or even a region where you may be considering expansion. For multinational businesses, SocialBro can help you see countries where you have pockets of followers, and you can tailor your content accordingly.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

The ultimate goal of a social media campaign is not just engagement, but visibility for your business and website. Google Analytics, a powerful and versatile tool available from Google, utilizes the information it collects on customer searches to track how they are getting to your website. If your customers are finding your website with click-throughs from your social media, you can see it in your Google Analytics reports. The platform will also tell you whether the visitors to your site are new or returning, what pages they are viewing, demographic information about them, and how long they stay on your site.

Newsletter Subscriber Base

If you send out newsletter e-blasts, chances are you have sign-up widgets on your social media platforms. If followers find your social content engaging, they will seek to build a more substantial relationship with your company by signing up for your newsletter. Social media engagement serves as the introduction to what your company has to offer. The newsletter will allow you to have a more meaningful dialogue with your customers, so monitor whether your subscriber base is increasing alongside your social media campaigns. If you have a download or PDF you can give away to incentivize people to join your mailing list, even better.

Click-through Rates

Regardless of the social media platform that  you choose, you will be able to monitor the click-through rate for your posts, tweets, e-blasts or photos. The click-through rate will tell you how many followers actually clicked on your content, photo or link back to your website. It suggests that a follower is interested enough in your content to actually do something about it, so it is a key metric and will help you refine your social media strategy in ways that can better engage your customers.

Are you unsure how to tell whether your social media strategy is working, or is your company just struggling to engage with customers on social media? Resourceful Business can help you assess, realign and energize your social media strategy so you can engage customers and grow your business. Contact us for a conversation about your company’s social media strategy.

social media for business

Stop Ruining your Business with Social Media

For many business owners, social media has become part of their marketing strategy. Whether it be Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn or Google+, small businesses will choose a preferred platform or two, do promotions and advertisements or engage with customers. The ability to upload pictures makes tinkering with social media fun too.

All too often, however, a busy owner sets up a social media account and then uses it haphazardly with limited results. To really see customer engagement, the effort must be consistent and thoughtful, and of course, all of that takes time. So, here are a few telltale signs that you should stop doing social media for your business and utilize a content management firm instead.

You don’t know what a pixel actually is

Social media platforms permit the administrator, often the account owner, to upload graphic images and customize or brand the site to help visually identify the business. There are banners, profile pictures, logos in differing sizes and backgrounds. When you go to upload an image, usually the social media template will tell you the optimal size. When working with a LinkedIn banner, for example, a message displays,

“ PNG, JPEG, or GIF; max size 2 MB. Image must be 646 x 220 pixels or larger.”

A pixel is picture element, or one of the small points on a graphic image. If you upload an image that is too small or of the wrong dimensions, it can be stretched, appear off-center or blurred. Even when the social media templates let you check a box to “resize” the image, the end result is often distorted, cut off or blurry. Logos and images are easily edited with available software and will look crisp and eye-catching when sized correctly. A content management firm can give your social media platform a polished, professional look by creating correctly sized, custom graphics for your social media accounts.

writing a blog

You haven’t written a blog in 3 months

You know that it is helpful to create original content and you started a blog a few months ago. You wrote your first blog and posted it. You keep thinking about the next great topic, but have yet to write your next blog and it’s been three months. You are unfamiliar with terms such as H1 and H2 headings, sometimes written as “Heading 1, Heading 2,” tags, or hashtags which can appear in your website content management system (CMS). So, chances are that even if you are posting your own blogs, you are not taking advantage of the different ways to optimize search for your content.

A content management firm can write your blogs based on topics you provide or ideas they generate themselves. They will agree an editorial calendar with you, so blogs and content are produced consistently You can read drafts, approve them and then the content management company will post the content for you and optimize it for search.

You don’t actually have a social media content strategy

Social media content is sometimes divided into what is referred to as the “Rule of Thirds.” One third of your content can be product and service related, so it can have a promotional element. One third of your content should try to establish a rapport with your target audience. You can write about local events in your community or just your thoughts, and this content may not necessarily be related to your product. One third of your social media content should pull from other sources or articles in your field and try to establish you or your company as an expert in the area of specialization.

Great content also demands a variety of inputs to keep it interesting. There should be slideshares, videos, hyperlinks to interesting articles and lots and lots of pictures. If you don’t have the time or inclination to focus on an individualized content management strategy using a variety of mediums, then it would be better to let a content management firm do it for you. A content management firm can offer your business a monthly plan which may include fresh content, posting of the content, blog writing and monthly metric reports. Simply put, good content demands time, originality and a lot of reading, so know when the time has come to hand the task over.

Do you need a vision for your social media strategy or someone to implement it? Contact Resourceful Business today, and we will help you design and execute an effective, engaging social media strategy. Contact us.