OUR MUSINGS

How to sustain a successful social media presence for your company

You’ve done it. Your business has finally taken the leap into the social landscape and started a Facebook page, Twitter account or Instagram profile. You’re now ready to engage with your customers and share exciting updates from your company.

Fast forward three months. After a few weeks of posting, your social accounts lay desolate – no recent posts, very few followers and little activity. While you started off strong, you soon struggled to share updates and had difficulty deciding what you should post. Eventually you stopped posting altogether. Despite your initial enthusiastic intentions, your social accounts now give the impression that your business either no longer exists or isn’t capable of engaging on the digital scene.

We’ve seen this happen to countless companies. When social media is mentioned to prospective clients, many respond with a “we’ve tried it, it’s not for us” mentality. But in today’s digital world, every company from any industry can benefit from some form of social media presence.

So why do so many companies fail so soon after they begin and what are the main ingredients of success?

No method behind the madness
Many businesses decide to start using social networks on a whim. But like any other marketing tool, a strong, developed strategy must be created and implemented for success. The first steps in creating a successful social strategy is research and planning. Before you even create a social profile, you should first ask yourself the following questions:

– Why does my company want to use social media?
– How does social media fit into our comprehensive marketing plan?
– On which social networks does our audience spend most of its time, and how do we effectively reach them?
– What content will we share and how often will we share it?
– Who will be in charge of managing/posting to our social accounts?

As you complete your research and start developing a strategy, be sure to set benchmarks to measure your social success. These objectives should impact your overall marketing goals, and should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound (S.M.A.R.T). Make sure to use analytics tools that will help you identify whether or not the objectives you’ve set are being achieved. Having a well-established process that will help you build the foundation of a robust social media strategy while keeping up with the several moving parts of the social media world is the main key to success.

Having a well-established process that will help you build the foundation of a robust social media strategy while keeping up with the several moving parts of the social media world is the main key to success.

There’s gasoline but no fire
Even when companies take the time to map out a strategy to drive their social endeavors, they often leave one crucial element out: content. Social media marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is part of a larger content strategy; in particular, it should be used as a tool to share the content you are creating to generate leads and build brand awareness – content like blogs, white papers, videos, etc. Many companies never develop these resources, and often resort to sharing static website pages, external articles and miscellaneous photos to their social accounts; content that has a short shelf time.

The key to successful posting on a regular basis is the creation of promotable content just as frequently. Developing a content calendar will help successfully organize, manage and schedule the content that needs to be created. Using a content calendar can keep your team accountable for creating the resources needed for social sharing and prevent periods of little to no posting on your accounts.

As you develop content, don’t spend all of your content efforts puffing up your company or promoting your products (no one likes a Facebook friend that constantly posts about themselves). Instead, make an effort to frequently create content that educates and genuinely interests your target audience.

There you have it. Avoid these mistakes and follow the above strategies and you’re well on your way to developing a glowing social reputation for your business.

At dgs we work with many of our clients to develop successful social media strategies and digital content. If you are interested, you can see some of the recent results from our work.

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Being a Graphic Designer

By Justin Brown

I love the opportunity to craft exceptional experiences that delight, educate, and inform current and future users. Building products means you’re part of something big. When you’re starting a new feature or product, you’re trying to solve a problem that previously didn’t exist for a specific audience. It’s kind of like having kids. First there’s an idea. Then over time it turns into this amazing thing that exists, and you are its creator. There is always something exciting to look forward to.

It takes a certain kind of person to be a graphic designer, one who really enjoys doing it and is willing to make a career out of it. It requires being a lifelong learner to survive, confidence in one’s talent and a willingness to surrender it to another’s taste preferences. When I see my work out there in the world, representing clients and hopefully improving its image and credibility among customers who support them, I feel uniquely proud. I feel like I’m making the world just a little bit better, even though none of those client customers know who I am.

I enjoy the creative outlet and the constant challenges. I enjoy getting to work with powerful computers (and big screens) in a comfortable environment. I enjoy working with other communications professionals I respect and who respect me. I enjoy having flexibility and that I’m considered a professional. And I take comfort in the fact that my talent and skills will never be obsolete. The economy rises and falls, the fortunes of companies expand and contract. But communications are vital. Every business needs to communicate and everyone needs their visual communication to look the best it can. I went into a field where there will always be a demand for talented, experienced people who aren’t afraid to work hard. It’s a good job, and there’s really nothing else I’d rather be doing.

I feel particularly lucky to be a graphic designer, doing this job, today. Because the work I’ve done is now a part of these organization’s history and it will continue to be for as long as it lasts. That’s a kind of indelible mark I was given the opportunity to make.

So, stay close. Something interesting may happen.

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Why professionalism matters

By Leslie Galbreath 

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong. I find myself musing on this subject after recently receiving an outlandish pitch from a sales representative. The pitch was comprehensive in the sense that it included insults, sarcasm, sexism, threats and, most importantly, inaccurate and half-formed data. Basically, the message was, “You better buy my stuff you silly girl or you’ll be sorry.”

Those of you who know me can imagine my response to a sales pitch like this. But it got me thinking about the importance of qualities such as transparency, accuracy, fairness, honesty and diplomacy in the workplace – essentially, the professional values that make up the code of ethics I and my agency adhere to in our daily lives.

To me, these are not just words, these are guiding principles that mean something. They mean something in terms of the way we work with our clients, our media partners, our vendors and most importantly each other. Applying these values to the work we do creates trust and confidence. It ensures that we can offer the objective, informed counsel our clients expect from us. It makes it easy to avoid conflicts of interest. It allows us to advocate for our clients in a way that always serves them, the industry and the public interest at the same time. Applying this code of ethics improves our profession, and creates standards against which we measure ourselves. In other words, it keeps everyone accountable.

The pitch also got me thinking about the pragmatism of an approach like this. Who did this person think he would persuade? What meeting did he have with his advisors that they emerged with this as their best idea? Who are his advisors?

Chief among my responsibilities is loyalty to my clients and the brands they hold dear. At dgs, I make decisions and recommendations for my business and my clients based on key factors such as research and objectives. But I also make decisions based on professionalism and what is in the best interest of my clients and their reputations. I take this very seriously, as if each of them were my own company.

It used to be said that manufacturing was a relationship business. As communication has become faster, more digital in nature and broader in scope, it’s also become a numbers game which allow us as marketers to target our actions and measure out the fluff to the benefit of our clients. It’s hard to argue with data. But no matter how you look at it, at the heart of every industry and every company is people. All the data in the world means nothing if you can’t trust the messenger.

No one likes a bully, and in the end, the truth always wins out.

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What’s happened to kids’ sports?

By Polly Bonacuse 

I come from an athletic family. Growing up, the more sports we played, the better – it was fun. So it’s no surprise that I have an athletic son, who is approaching the age group where sports are getting more and more competitive.

And I’m nervous.

In this past week alone, I’ve talked to a parent thinking about sending his kids to boarding school, in hopes that they’ll get a scholarship to a division one school. Another parent whose 5th grader is at school or a sporting practice/event from 6:30 am to 8 pm every weekday, with multiple games on the weekends (many out of town) and is trying to figure out how to make time for private lessons. Another family whose child has spent close to a year at required practices and camps, and has already sacrificed spring break, just to try out for the sport he wants to play.

What is going on?

I get that we parents all have high hopes for our kids and want them to succeed wherever their strengths lie. But my expectations are simple: I want my child to be part of something, have a sense of accomplishment and above all, have fun. (And as he gets a little older, stay out of trouble!)

Through sports, he is learning skills such as setting goals and working toward them. Learning how to lose, and also learning how to win. Participating on a team where teammates and coaches count on you. Knowing what it’s like to be the best player on a team, and the worst. He’s being physically active and making lasting friendships. These build character, which he will carry with him through life after sports (which, realistically, is after high school, as the percentage of high school athletes that go on to play college sports is in the single-digit range).

So, I’m nervous that my expectations aren’t high enough. That I’m doing him a disservice by encouraging him to play sports for fun instead of scholarship potential. Giving him free time to play outside with his buddies instead of paying for extra coaching. Allowing him to be a kid.

And a little weather Haiku to brighten your day:

Spring. How you tease us.
60 degrees, then it snows.
Let’s get on with it.

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