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Leveraging User Generated Content on Social Media

Posted by bert

If you pay attention to the most popular brands on social media, you will have noticed a new trend emerging as a way to drive engagement: user generated content.  Social media marketing has been around for a long time at this point, and clever marketers are always looking for new and exciting ways to engage their brand’s fan base.

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content refers to any content such as blogs, pictures, reviews, etc. that are generated fans and users of a particular brand.  This content is often posted on a third party site, usually in social media like Facebook or Instagram.  This content is then re-purposed by either a marketing firm or the brand to be posted on their own social media or website.

Why use User Generated Content?

More and more people are sharing huge portions of their everyday life on social media.  We see people Instagram their dinner, check in to businesses on Facebook, or post their Outfit of the Day on Twitter.  This has signaled a change in the way people view brands and make purchasing decisions.  Standard reviews by news outlets carry less and less weight as people are able to see what their friends and family are buying and using through social media.  People are far more likely to purchase something via word of mouth recommendation than a review they read somewhere.

Any and every brand will say that their product or service is the best.  However, consumers are becoming more and more savvy and they have more options when it comes to getting opinions about brands.  This is why it is so vital to leverage user generated content.  Show people what makes your brand different and great rather than just telling them.  Social media allows for an unfiltered (to an extent) view of your product and service.  A genuine, unbiased opinion of your brand broadcast on social media is extremely valuable.

General Tips

There you go, you’re ready to enter the world of user generated content!  Check back every Monday for more great marketing tips to help your business thrive online!

Hashtag Strategy: Getting the Most Out of Your Social Content

Posted by bert


Hashtag Strategy: Getting the Most Out of Your Social Content.

We’ve all seen the ubiquitous numerical sign across our social media feeds.  Whether it’s on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, brands and users alike are using hashtags to convey certain ideas or elements that are important to them.  Hashtags have become such a prevalent part of our lives that some people even use the term “hashtag” for emphasis when they speak in everyday conversation (please don’t be one of these people).  With that being said, how can brands and companies leverage these hashtags into their social media strategy?  A strong hashtag strategy can help gain followers, drive interactions and help with overall branding.

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is represented by the “#” sign.  Placing the “#” sign in front of a word in a social media posting creates a hashtag phrase.  Essentially this is used to put all of the content related to the term in one place.  If you were to search “#nature” on Instagram you would instantly see hundreds of thousands of posts that have all used the “#nature” hashtag.  This is a simple way for social media platforms to gather all posts related to a specific idea.  It also helps these platforms decide what’s trending.  For example, earlier this year #NPS100 was trending on Instagram and Twitter, and the tag made it easy to find all of the posts related to the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Services in the United States.  Upon searching this tag, users could find all of the related posts.

Avoiding the Obvious

Now that we know how hashtags work it’s time to implement a hashtag strategy into our social media posting.  You can use a variety of third party sites to see how many posts exist for any given hashtag.  I definitely encourage spending a little bit of time and doing some hashtag research.  Write down the words and phrases you want to use in your hashtag strategy, then take a look and see how often these get used.


Much like keyword planning, you want to find the sweet spot where large search volume but low competition exists.  It is important to remember that social media is about more than the raw number of followers your brand has.  It’s far better to have a smaller fan base that is engaged than a large fan base that mostly ignores your post.  That’s why I generally avoid the most popular hashtags, such as #Instagood, #F4F (follow for follow), etc.  Using these hashtags will put your content in front of a large group of people, but that content will be buried by a deluge of other posts. This content also isn’t targeted at all.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever use #TBT (Throwback Thursday, another popular hashtag), but I wouldn’t depend on it to get eyes on your content.


Try to keep your hashtags related to the audience you are trying to reach.  Do some research and see what hashtags others in your industry are using.  Get creative and figure out new ways to present your that are relevant to your fan base.  If you’re a local business, use hashtags related to your location.  People do search social media by tags in order to find interesting accounts to follow.  By using a hashtag strategy is relevant content, you are ensuring that your content will be put in front of people who are more likely to interact with your brand.

Branded Hashtags

Now that you have done your research and figured out which hashtags are relevant to your industry, it’s time to work on some branded hashtags.  I would always advise to hashtag the name of your company or brand.  Additionally, choose a tagline that you want to use as a hashtag.  Now you can encourage your fan base to use it on posts related to your brand.  This way you will always have all of your content, as well as user-curated content at your fingertips.  Hashtags represent a nice branding opportunity to drive home a tagline that personifies your business.


In conclusion, a hashtag strategy should be a large part of an overall social media strategy.  Well researched and thought out hashtags will get your content in front of thousands of potential fans and help you to build your brand.  Don’t use a million hashtags on every post an resist the temptation to jump on the most highly competitive tags.  Be creative, have fun, and you will see the hashtag strategy pay off in a big way!

CMYK for Print: How to Ensure Proper Print Colors

Posted by bert

It’s a nightmare scenario for graphic designers.  You’ve spent hours pouring your creativity into a print ad, t-shirt design, or banner for a client.  The design has been adjusted and approved, and sent off to print.  As you finally see the final product, your heart sinks into your stomach.  The colors are wrong.  Sometimes this isn’t a huge problem, but if there have been colors specifically chosen to represent your brand, the situation can blow up quickly.  Because the science behind high quality, full color graphics has grown increasingly complex, we’re here to provide you with the best practice for the perfect print job every time.

First and foremost it’s important to understand the difference between RGB and CMYK.  RGB is Red, Green, Blue, and these colors are additive.  These are the colors that we see on our computer screens.  Computer monitors are able to display a vast color palette with millions of colors more than achievable in print.  This can lead to problems, as things designed on the computer will look different once printed.  This is because CMYK is the color range used for printing.  CMYK is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.  These are subtractive colors, meaning that as you take them away you get closer and closer to white.


Now that we know this information, how can we use it to get the results we want?  There are a couple of solutions.


Convert Within Photoshop

To change an RGB file to the CMYK space, open your file in Photoshop and go to Edit>Convert to Profile

Select your target profile, which should be in Library>ColorSync>Profiles

Then select a rendering intent appropriate for your image (to simplify, Perceptual if the relevant image colors are out of the target’s gamut, otherwise Relative Colorimetric). If you select Relative Colorimetric, it’s also a good idea to check “Use Black Point Compensation”.


Use An Online Converter

There are multiple online converters, like the one found here.  Just be sure to double check the final product to make sure that nothing went wrong during the conversion process.


Use a Hex Value Converter

This website will give you hex values in both RGB and CMYK so that you can work on your design with the correct color palette from the jump.

There you have it!  Using this guide and understanding the difference between color spaces will help to make sure that your clients are happy with any and all print work that you design.

Check back next week for another Marketing Tip, and contact us if you need help with your website, social media, graphic design or any other online marketing needs!

Marketing Tip Monday: When to Post on Social Media

Posted by bert

You don’t need to be a marketing expert to know that content is king on social media.  To get the most interactions and reach out of your social media strategy, you need to be posting content that your fan base responds to.  However, what is the point of having this great content if you aren’t posting it when your audience is active?  In this Marketing Tip Monday, we answer the question of when to post on social media.
Timing is everything.  This mantra rings especially true in your social media marketing efforts.  Even though Facebook and Instagram have an algorithm in place that will show content based on a variety of factors, it is still very important to look at the times you post on social media.
 According to this infographic from Surepayroll, the best time to post on Facebook is between 1 and 4 pm.  Twitter is most active Monday-Thursday between 9 am and 3 pm.  Late night/early morning posts perform much worse than posts during the middle of the day.  The weekends are a fine time to post as long as you stick to posting in the middle of the day.
This information seems to be rather common sense.  By following these best practices you can certainly get more mileage out of your posts.  If you want to maximize your efforts though, you need to dive deeper into your analytics.  Most social media platforms provide built in statistics showing when your content is being interacted with.  Experiment a little bit and see what times your audience is responding.  If you’re marketing to mostly college-aged people you may be able to post a little later at night and get away with it.  If you’re marketing to professionals, you may want to only post early morning, during lunch times or towards the end of the work day.  Knowing your audience and their behavior patterns is the key to having a deeper understanding of your posting strategy.  It takes a little leg work, but it is totally worth it in the long run!
To summarize, there are definitely best practices to follow when it comes to when to post on social media.  To get the most out of your campaigns though, you will have to do some research and analysis in order to really figure out when your audience is there to engage with your content.



Why Coins Have Ridges

Posted by bert

Fun Fact Friday :: Sept. 23rd, 2016



Have you ever wondered why some coins have ridges on the edge?

why do coins have ridges fun fact friday multiple choice


Correct Answer :: D

There are actually several reasons. Originally it was to prevent shaving off precious metal from the coin back when they were made of silver and gold but the tradition carried on because of additional uses. It also helps to make the coins harder to counterfeit and makes them easier to distinguish for people with visual disabilities as the penny and dime are similar size and weight.