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Marketing with Merch: The Customized Experience

Merch BrosThe interwebz has given the world a whole new lease on life in terms of marketing. There’s impressions, cost per clicks, and Search, BUT the only thing that can’t be replicated is a physical experience. Many companies these days may have cut back on print ads and billboards, but promotional merchandise is still a strong multi-million dollar industry. Just take a look at any company you’ve worked for or a charity you’ve participated in. There are branded pens, thumb drives, wristbands, and of course, the mighty mighty branded t-shirt. A t-shirt goes a long way – even in 2015.

Today we want to focus on the need to promote your business, but not just in the online world; in the real world. We’ve all seen companies on Shark Tank innovating picture books, custom sneakers, and so much more. If you don’t have customized goods, how will you ensure that people can “take” you home with them? We’ve found a local company based in both Massachusetts and New York that takes the web and promotional merch to new heights. Introducing our friends at Merch Bro! With one look at their website and their blog, you’ll see that they take the efficiency of web technology and the popularity of customized t-shirts, wristbands, and other merch and combine the two in a unique supply company. They’ve worked with some big names our there in the band merchandising front, as well as many popular charities. Follow their guided merch app or just let them do the designing for you – either way it’s a win-win in your search for great customized merch!

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Cleaning up a Computer for the Computer Illiterate

Your computer is your workstation, it’s super important to keep it as clean  as any other place you spend a lot of time.  So, we’ve put together a quick and very simple guide to cleaning up a computer if you just happen to be more or less computer illiterate.

  1. Use this to uninstall unused programs: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
  2. Not sure what to uninstall? This will suggest what to get rid of, complete with ratings and descriptions: http://www.shouldiremoveit.com/Search Engine Optimization
  3. Next, do a deep scan with this program and follow its instructions to remove malware: https://www.malwarebytes.org/mwb-download/
  4. When it comes to browsers, yes, Chrome is the best. That being said, I find Firefox to have a better add-on selection (particularly when it comes to ads and YouTube). Here’s where you can download it: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
  5. And while you’re at it, use AdBlock to get rid of intrusive banner ads, and all the other junk that detracts from the browsing experience: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/adblock-plus/
  6. Here’s a free antivirus, It’s lightweight so it won’t bog down your computer, and did we mention it’s free?? Install and run, then run again. Same with malware bytes: http://free.avg.com/us-en/homepage
  7. Might as well defrag your drive a few times while you’re at it. This will speed up your hard drive and help it last a bit longer: https://www.piriform.com/defraggler
  8. Also, run windows update a few times too, just do search from start button and update.
After you’ve used all these listed above, your computer (read: your #1 friend) should run a lot better.
If there are serious viruses on there, you may want to just re-install the OS that your computer runs on which is very easy (but likely unnecessary).
Finally, backup all the files you want safe, particularly video, images, documents, and audio
We hope this has brought you one step closer to fixing your computer. If you have any questions feel free to ask the team by commenting or contact Social Drive here.
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The YouTube Super Bowl Halftime Show!

Arizona Football FieldNo, we’re not joking. The internet behemoth has announced it’s plans to rival its television counterparts. Utilizing online celebrities, the Google-owned platform wants some of that insane advertising action typical on the average Super Bowl Sunday and who can blame them, right? It is only the country’s most watched television event of the year.

EpicMealTime‘s Harley Morenstein is hosting the virtual event streaming free with musical guests, as well as fake Super Bowl ads and people diving into pools of beer and/or cheese. We’re not yet sure if YouTube sensations (who do have upwards of millions of followers) and funny stunts can exactly compete with Katy Perry or the Puppy Bowl, but it’s about time to test it out!

The irony? YouTube took to several traditional modes of advertising to get the word out using billboards in major cities to promote their rising web-celebs. Even NBC doesn’t seem too worry. It costs millions of dollars for brands to air a mere 20-30 second spot on a day were more people enjoy the funny commercials on their TV just as much as the game. However, one thing we do know that’s in their favor: 6.3 million hours were spent watching the Super Bowl ads on YouTube just last year. This Super Bowl is sure to be one to produce at least some more interesting data in the battle of the TV vs. the web!

PS- GO PATS!

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Inbound v. Outbound Marketing

AdWords Advertising ServicesOften a sore subject for many traditional-style marketers, the different between the two types of marketing can mean a lot to your organization and your budget. Similar to traffic, your brand’s message is either going outward to attract people or stay central to bring people inward to you. I’m not here to say they’re mutually exclusive either, but knowing their differences is a requirement in 2015 because they are so vast.

The sore spots on “outbound marketing” lay in the fact that they are getting more and more antiquated compared to their tech-savvy counterparts. Generating leads in the outbound fashion mean filling your sales funnel/putting your efforts for conversions in cold calling, print ads, purchased email list blasts, and even some trade shows. It’s outbound because you’re continually pushing your message out as bait hoping there are some fish that will bite. What’s more is that it’s much harder to measure ROI on things, such as a billboard. Consider how often people are bombarded with traditional marketing and advertising. As an “inbound marketing,” I know I’m even desensitized to banner ads much less a newspaper ad. You have to be very good and very creative to make an impact in those spaces now and that takes even more money than the ads already cost. Might as well try a guerrilla approach!

The bright side of things is that “inbound marketing” is so much more tailored. You put out quality content that helps your bolster your brand’s story but also attracting the people who are already looking for YOU. You use your website as an anchor and coordinate your Social and Search strategy – implement a fun blog – and people will probably start to trust your brand more than they would with the outbound approach. You become more dynamic and approachable with your online presence in the same strategy. People will love this approach a lot more and you’re saving yourself a pretty penny too; not to mention it’s all online and all measurable! Personally, I prefer letting people come to me and they appreciate taking the cheesy/sales pitch away – maybe it’s a generational thing =)!

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Holiday Tips for Social

holiday photo in Boston5,4,3,2,1…HAPPY NEW YEAR! That’s right, the New Year will be here before we know it. Don’t let the holidays fly by without sharing laughs and fun memories with loved ones. These memories don’t have to be in person, especially for those loved ones that live miles away. Social media is a great way to stay in touch and spread holiday cheer. Share some of these basic tips with your family and friends to make the best of your holiday season:

  1. You and your friends can use hashtags on Twitter to post about what you’re doing everyday during the holiday season and stay trending. You can tag your favorite stores, your friends, and even different restaurants. You can even select a personalized hashtag for just you and your friends to follow together as an inside joke!
  2. Instagram is a great social image sharing app that can be used for uploading pictures right from your smartphone. You can capture all of your moments with a click of a button. You can get fancy and put filters on your photos to brighten them up. Snapchat is also an app to take some photos and share them with friends via your phone’s contact list… these photos disappear once seen though. Have fun and share the moments!
  3. Get Iconosquare! This is an application that integrates your Instagram account and provides fun analytics. You might be asking why is this type of app necessary during the holidays? Well, it offers a “year in review” based upon the top 5 most popular posts from your account and presents it in a cute video you can share. Reliving your coolest memories from 2014 was never this simple: check out more on Iconosquare’s video feature.
  4. Last, but not least, you can use Facebook to check in at different places. Tag your friends and family in pictures of your kids performing in a play or scoring a touchdown in the Thanksgiving Day football game. You might even get a discount for checking in somewhere… #SCORE

However you decide to celebrate this holiday season, don’t forget to share the love and cherish all of the memories with or without your smartphone by your side.

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Ad Fatigue – What is it and how to fight it!?

ServicesYou’re so excited that you finally have been given a budget for ad spend (either on Facebook or wherever you’ve been dying to test out display ads!) After a few days you’re heart stops because there is a drop-off in the ad performance and you lose confidence in your ad skills. This happens every time you run ads. Have you given up yet?

You may have heard of Ad Fatigue, but if not “AD FATIGUE!” See, now you’ve heard about it. Don’t dismiss your skills in display advertising or the power of great creative just because you’ve fallen victim. We’re going to show you how to implement some measures to fix what us experts call Ad Fatigue.

Let’s discuss What Ad Fatigue is

Ad Fatigue is what happens when your target audience has been shown your ad too many times and your CTR (click-through-rate) falls while the frequency your ad being shown keeps increasing. It makes you think your ad is starting to flail and you definitely don’t want your stats to suffer before you show your boss.

This happens for a few reasons. The first being that users are shown your ad a lot. Just about every time they sign on to Facebook. Not to mention your ad is up against photos and fun statuses in their news-feed. So, in the end, people are accustomed to your image and just stop clicking.

How to fight Ad Fatigue?

Creative rotation! Change up your creative and stop users from being desensitized to your ad. As soon as it begins to drop, don’t be afraid to throw up a different version. Pay attention to using different colors and try not to put any text on your creative. As you already know, ads should be eye-catching whether small or in a bigger layout. This also means, keep it simple. The busier the image the worse it does, but it’s all about testing and what you see for yourself.

Ad rotation also includes demographics, so if you have multiple demos to work with changes them out. This has become much easier to accomplish on Facebook with the improvements to the Ad Manager area. Finally, you should rotate your ads weekly or bi-weekly.

If you have any questions or comments, or want to walk through some ad creation with Social Drive just let us know. Write a comment or witty joke below – or drop us a line via email.

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.GIFs: What are they and why are they amazing?

Peanut Butter Jelly Time .gif

Animated images also known as .GIFs have looped around the Internet for 25 years, but have finally made a name for themselves in the last few years. But what are .GIFs? And why have they become such a phenomenon? First off, .GIFs are animated image file formats or pictures that move in an infinite loop. .GIFs swirled the Internet in the 90’s as little tiny clip art images which moved around and simulated life, but overall they never captured much attention from the public. However, today they have become sensations that have swept across all nations. These little motion pictures are being shared so rapidly that it takes only seconds for one .GIF to go from one end of the earth to the other.

Even though they are entertaining, .GIFs do have a practical side. They help deliver the news, tell stories, express public reactions to certain events, as well as spread important information to the masses. Many people believe that for young adults, .GIFs are a symbol of their childhood. They help some recall and even make fun of old relics from their past. Some believe this is where their growth and popularity began. Honestly though, the popularity of .GIFs probably came from its ability to help us convey our thoughts and opinions and share then it on a world scale in a short easy format. These will images have helped us connect with millions of people. Who knew that a little loopy clip could generate so much for us in only a few repeated seconds?

And DON’T FORGET, it was not long ago that inventor of the .GIF declared the official pronuntiation: How to Pronounce .GIF. Was it what you thought it was?

 

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Facebook: Sneaky Ad Updates!

YIKES! Facebook is rolling out more and more monetizing opportunities on users newsfeeds. When you work everyday in Online Marketing like us, you can easily spot updates to a social platform that haven’t yet been announced.  A few times recently, I’ve noticed that Facebook has a way to identify if a congrats is in order to your friends… and subsequently prompts a gift purchase. Not only am I assuming that algorithm is triggered to surprise your friend who is mentioning a life event (without technically adding a  life event to their profile), but it’s also surprising the end-user because it isn’t technically your typical ad location seen on Facebook.

We’d like to see the stats of which Facebook users have taken advantage of this prompt or even the conversion rates of that oh-so-convenient “Birthday” gift.  Amazon, Starbucks, and Target are all mainstays in these monetizing strategies, but do you eventually thing this will get more niche?

We also surmise that the opposite will occur when a tragic event has happened:

“I hate men – single life here I come again!”

—-> surprise your friend with flowers from Edible Arrangements!  <—-

Check out an example below:

Facebook Advertising