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Engaging Content – A business’s greatest advantage online

June 25th, 2013 by Taylor Flowers

With over 187 million active websites and rising, businesses of all sizes are competing with each other in the online marketplace. All of this competition makes it important for businesses to make their online content as engaging as possible. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines engaging as “tending to draw favorable attention or interest,” and that is exactly what businesses want to do with their websites and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A business’s website and social media content is their number one tool for informing, persuading, and engaging its readers.

Because there are many different markets and audiences, there isn’t just one definition that we could use to explain “Engaging Content”.  Rather, we will focus on four qualities of engaging content – Content should be relevant, informative, unique, and provide influence.

Creating relevant content is the most important piece of making your content engaging. To create relevant and engaging content, businesses should begin with their current customers by focusing on their needs. All businesses need to have a good understanding of their customers and the problems they may be facing and then tailor online content to show how their business solutions can help the customer.  If a business can enlighten their customers as to how they can solve their problems or issues, then their content is more likely to be engaging.

In order for a business to be portrayed as an authority or expert in their industry, it is essential that both website and social media content be informative. By posting informative information, a business portrays itself to both their current and potential customers as an industry expert. For this to happen, it is important that the content being written is appropriate for their target market, accurate, and timely.

Engaging content must also have a uniqueness factor. This content should lead customers to think about or view a product in a way they did not before. Businesses should create content to be unique – they should describe their product in such a way as to highlight its unique attributes.  Why should a customer use our product versus a competitor? Are we less expensive, better quality, better customer service, etc.  The possibilities are endless in how you differentiate your products.  But, remember, consumers shouldn’t feel like they are being marketed to.  Rather, they need to feel that the business is providing them with a better solution.

If a business has done their homework and has been successful in getting a customer to visit their website, the work is not done.  From here, the business needs to have engaging and influential text and graphics that will lead the visitors to take an action.  There are several ways to accomplish this, but the most popular and successful way to drive business is creating a “Call to Action”. A call to action prompts a viewer to click or complete a form for a certain reason.  This could be to have them subscribe to a newsletter, to complete a “request more information” form, or to purchase a product. Calls to action are a great way to generate leads for a business, and turn those leads into customers.

While the design and layout of a website is important, without engaging content, it is not likely to turn any of the visits into customer.  It is essential that the website content have relevance, be informative, unique, and have influence.  With this formula, you will be successful in engaging your customers.  The way you present the information could be the determining factor on whether a user exits a site within seconds or places an order for products or services or uses those of a competitor.

For more information on engaging content or if you need assistance writing content for your marketing efforts, call Taylor Flowers at (936) 225-4705.

What’s new on Instagram?

June 21st, 2013 by Taylor Flowers

On Thursday, Instagram, a Facebook owned company, launched a new feature that will allow its 130 million monthly users to create and share 15 second videos. This video feature, available on iOS and Android platforms, will allow users to edit their videos with filters, a cover frame, and provide image stabilization.

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom stated, “There are a ton of moments in the world that can’t be captured in single images.” This is why Instagram leadership chose to integrate a video feature into their app that users can easily capture, apply a filter and share with not only their Instagram followers, but also their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Email, and foursquare.


The update to this app has a very similar look and feel to its previous version. When users press the camera button, they are given the option to choose still camera or video camera. Users are able to upload their previously taken photos or take a photo through the app – nothing has changed with this feature. As of right now, Instagram videos can only be shot from within the app, and you can’t upload an existing video from your phone’s camera roll.  To record a video through Instagram, users just have to hold down the video icon to record. Releasing the button allows users to pause their video, readjust what they are filming, and begin recording again by simply pressing the button.

The features of Instagram’s video capabilities are endless. Users can switch back and forth between the front and rear facing cameras, and will allow videos to be anywhere between 3 and 15 seconds long.  Instagram’s new video feature allows you to delete the last clip that was shot, in case it was a bad take. Instagram allows you to choose from its normal filters, as well as thirteen filters built just for video. Along with adding a filter to your video, Instagram also allows you to choose a scene from what you’ve recorded and set it as the video’s cover image.  The most talked about feature of this update is Instagram’s Cinema feature. Cinema is a way to stabilize the video, a great feature for those of us with shaky hands.

As Facebook continues to conquer social media, this video-sharing update is their latest step. Will you be trying out Instagram’s new video feature? Share your most creative videos with MasseyMedia by tagging #masseymedia and we’ll share it on our blog and Facebook page.

Social Media Analyst – It’s more than just a Facebook post

June 12th, 2013 by Taylor Flowers

Every business has a purpose for being on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Whether that purpose is to increase imageslikes, increase sales, provide customer service, or to market a product, the business has set up this account for a reason. At MasseyMedia, we know that getting more “likes” and “followers” is important, but we also know that these “likes” and “followers” do nothing for your business until you can convert them to customers. Although the reason for taking part in these social network will vary depending on the organization, the number one reason is to drive sales for your business.

Knowing how to use social media effectively doesn’t mean just making a post or gaining more likes or followers, it means effectively understanding how to use the tools offered by each site, and how to analyze the statistics to increase your business. At MasseyMedia, we generate weekly reports for our social media clients and create an action plan to better meet the business’s goals, whether they are to get the word out, to increase likes, to provide better customer service, or to market a new product.

These reports provide detailed analytics across various social media outlets as well as traffic analytics from their website.  We are able to correlate visits from their website and social channels to other marketing efforts.  These correlations help to craft a marketing path helps determine the proper post types moving forward.

We have included a sample report in this blog post. Utilizing our methods, we were able to analyze their historical data for both website and social media channels.  By doing so, we were able to assist our customer in converting “likes” in to “sales” and repeat customers.

The recommendations that we made to increase the engagement from the previous report were that, “In a perfect world, you want your totals for reach and impressions to be almost equal or as close as possible to each other; meaning that a large percentage of your potential audience sees your content and interacts with your page. If you notice a big difference between your reach and impressions, then you know that more work is needed to make contact with those potential readers.”

We also suggested that by being able to see how your fans engaged and responded to your posts, you can begin to predict the performance of your future posts. If your fans are responding to statements like “The event I’d most like to see in East Texas is_________” or “Check out this video of our new XYZ product and see how you can benefit (insert a link to the video)” then you will want to post more engaging posts similar to those. Knowing what your fans respond to allows you to set your brand up for success.

After making these recommendations, this client’s engagement rose from 3.33% to 5.46%. You can see how all of their statistics changed by viewing the next week’s report here.

Analyzing these statistics can be overwhelming or may not make sense, that is what a Social Media Consultant is here to do—find the trends in your statistics to help make your presence on these sites as profitable as possible for you. Our job is to turn your fans and followers into repeat customers by tweaking your online activity and make improvements to your social media activity.  We go beyond the posts and tweets and help you understand how these posts can be utilized to understand your followers, change your marketing plan accordingly, and ultimately increase your sales.

At MasseyMedia, we offer several different Social Media Consulting plans and would be happy to help your business increase its profit by using sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Please call our Social Media Consultant, Taylor Flowers, at 936-225-4705 to make sure your business is achieving its full potential on Social Media sites.

Deep East Texas Regional Advisory Council

June 10th, 2013 by Taylor Flowers

detracorg

MasseyMedia recently launched a website for the Deep East Texas Regional Advisory Council. DETRAC prepares our region for manmade or natural emergencies, disasters and mass casualty events. Its primary function is to provide support through planning, facilitation, operations, and the provision of technical assistance to the region for Preparedness, Trauma, Injury Prevention, Stroke, Cardiac and Pediatric services.

The DETRAC website has been re-designed to enhance navigation and to provide better ease of access to important information for its members as well as residents of the 7 counties. To give DETRAC the ability to modify their own content, their website is built on a Content Management System that MasseyMedia created. On this website, DETRAC members are able to view up to date educational information as well as information on injury prevention.

Visit the DETRAC website for more information on the advisory council. To contact MasseyMedia about a website, project, or quote for your business, Contact Us.

 

 

 

Blogging for your Business

May 30th, 2013 by Taylor Flowers

Blogging is an important medium of communication for your business in today’s technology driven society. With over 3 million blogs being created every month, having a blog for your business gives you and your consumers a way to interact and get a better understanding of what consumers think about your products or services. Having this understanding of consumer opinions, companies can improve their services to meet the needs of their consumers; resulting in trust and credibility.  Blogging can be beneficial for both small and large businesses.

One of the biggest benefits of blogging is that it increases traffic to your website. When uploading posts to your blog, your website gains another “page”. If you keep these posts applicable to your business, search engines will begin to notice and your ranking in search engines will increase.  Search engines love blogs because of the new, fresh content. When a blog has new posts, it pings the search engines, and your website receives higher optimization.

Real Simple Syndication (RSS) is a format of delivering regularly changing web content. Consumers can sign up to receive your RSS feed, and when you make a post, they receive a notification and information about your new entry.  When they receive this notification, they can either go to your blog to read the new post, or they can read it in their RSS reader. The more often that you make a blog post, the more consumers will come to your blog to read and comment on it. When you update your blog with a new post or if a consumer comments on any of your posts, search engines get pinged, which means that it has been notified that your blog has been updated.

Another benefit of blogging is building and bringing recognition to your brand. When consumers read your blog, they may consider you an expert in your area of business. The image of your blogger gives a sense of “authority” and can impact the sales of your products and services. A blog helps you build your reputation in a very easy way. Maintaining the image of your brand online is important, and having a blog where you can discuss your new products or issues, can help you maintain your positive image. Building your brand with a blog is cheap and effective and the potential is unparalleled.

If you’d like to know more information on Blogging for your Business, give Taylor Flowers at call at 936-225-4705.

Loss Leader Marketing

May 21st, 2013 by Taylor Flowers

groupon1Are you looking for a way to get your old customers back, gain new customers, and increase your sales? If so, Loss Leader Marketing may be a strategy that you should consider.  The loss leader strategy is fairly simple. This strategy involves selling a particular item at a steep discount, or even a loss in order to attract new customers into your business. The objective is to lure consumers into your store so that they will not only buy the bargain item, but other items that are not sold at a discount. Utilizing the loss leader strategy within your business can be risky, so it is advisable to do some research on whether your loss leaders will be sustainable within your business and make sure it will result in a profit.

If you are wanting to get rid of overstock merchandise that isn’t moving, a loss leader strategy will help you free up shelf space and reduce the inventory of this product. It will also result in an increased cash flow.

As stated above, if you are looking to attract new customers, utilizing a loss leader strategy can help increase brand awareness. This strategy gives customers a reason to visit your business that they may not have had before. Most consumers like a bargain, so they are more likely to come back to your business to shop again at another date.

If you are interested in Loss Leader Marketing for your business, there are websites that can help you advertise your products in this way. Groupon, Living Social, Seize the Deal, and other discount sites are being advertised daily. There are a few advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before you jump on the Groupon wagon.

The most important advantage of using Groupon is gaining exposure for your business. If consumers are searching Groupon for a particular deal and your business offers it, they are more likely to purchase this from you at a discount than they are from a company who is offering the same item or service at full price. Another advantage of using Groupon is that you will increase your income—while you’re making less of a profit per sale, you will have an increased amount of sales. Groupon can also help you move your inventory and generate new business.

A major disadvantage that you should consider before offering your products on Groupon, or any other discount site, is that all customers like a bargain. Are bargain shoppers the type of customer you want to attract? What is to say that they will come back or just keep searching for deals on the same products at different businesses?  One thing that you should be cautious of when utilizing loss leaders is that you don’t pick a product that consumers are likely to stock up on—if your price is great, consumers may buy bulk of the one product, and not come to your business to purchase other products at a regular price.

If you decide that a loss leader strategy is right for you and your business, you want to make sure that you have enough of this product in stock, and let consumers know that limited quantity is available. This strategy is used to draw new customers to your business and help you increase your profits, so after you utilize loss leaders, you want to evaluate whether you are having the results you expected. If you realize consumers are only buying your loss leader, and not other products, you may realize that utilizing a loss leader strategy in your business was not for you. In most cases, loss leader marketing is a business strategy that is successful, so use it to benefit your business by building your customer base and increasing your profits.

For more information on how you can utilize Loss Leader Marketing Strategies in your business, call Taylor Flowers at 936-225-4705.

Facebook Updates iOS App – new photo options, faster event loading, and more

May 16th, 2013 by Taylor Flowers

On Monday, Facebook rolled out a new iOS update giving users the capability to re-share and save photos. With the update, the events homepage and individual events will load at a faster speed, and Facebook has added an easier group messaging and group chatting option.facebook

When viewing a photo on Facebook, users now have the option to save it to their photo album and share it with friends. Before the update, the only capabilities users had were to like, comment, or tag friends. Users have been able to re-share posts for some time, but the new update gives this option for individual photos as well. While taking a screen shot used to be the only way to save a photo directly from Facebook, users can now do so by clicking on the ellipsis icon. Facebook iOS users can also make someone else’s photo their own profile picture.

Facebook events also received a rebuild, as it was one of the features that hadn’t been updated for speed like the newsfeed and other elements of Facebook iOS. The events homepage and the pages of individual events are loading noticeably faster. If this will lead to more engagement on events, we will have to wait and see.

The addition of group messaging to the Facebook app messaging feature was introduced with this week’s update. Group messaging seems to be a big push with this update, as the new app features a group message composer as well as a group chat list within the chat menu.

Facebook also added an improved way to edit places when users check in using their iPhone. This update gives users the opportunity to suggest edits, like updating the address, phone number, business hours, or website of the place they are checking in.

Facebook released a report earlier in the month stating that it has 751 million mobile users. Since a large number of their users are on their mobile devices, you can tell that Facebook is heavily focused on its mobile updates. There are sure to be more updates and changes to come as Facebook continues to be the first place most users go when using their mobile phones.

If you would like to learn more about how your company can benefit from the use of the new Facebook App, be sure to call Taylor Flowers at 936-225-4705.

MasseyMedia hires new Marketing Manager

May 14th, 2013 by Matt Massey
Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 10.35.03 AM

Taylor Flowers, Marketing Manager

Taylor is the most recent member of the MasseyMedia team joining us in May 2013. Prior to this, Taylor worked at the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce as the Marketing and Communications Manager.

In the position of Marketing Manager, Taylor is responsible for managing the marketing efforts of MasseyMedia, ModernTickets, and our clients.  Specializing in Social Media Management and online ads, Taylor is perfectly positioned to help increase the ROI for our clients in their marketing efforts.  In addition, Taylor excels in content creation and utilizing advanced techniques to increase the search engine optimization of client websites.  She is an incredible addition to the MasseyMedia team and we look forward to our clients getting to meet her.

While her hometown is Lufkin, Taylor graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in Sports Management in May 2012.

Outside of work, Taylor enjoys shopping, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Secondary Social Networks

October 7th, 2012 by Matt Massey

Where to spend your hard earned money is always a hard decision. For a business owner, knowing where to invest your marketing dollars can be even harder. TV, Radio, Newspaper, and Internet all have advantages and disadvantages. But, one thing is for sure, when free marketing opportunities present themselves, small businesses need to take advantage as much as possible. This is why social media makes so much sense.

While most businesses do well to focus on Facebook and Twitter, there are numerous other social media networks that do need to have a little face time as well. Social media sites such as Yelp, FourSquare, Google Places, and UrbanSpoon allow for your business to be listed in a common directory from which users can search and find results based on filterable criteria. End users are able to search for businesses based on any number of criteria and narrow down to a single business.

The number one site for recommendations and business listings is Yelp. Although typically targeted to retail businesses, it is essential that you add your business regardless of what you sell. People search for products, services, and all other types of items via the Yelp website and their mobile applications. Yelp also sells access to its local data to other players who use it in their applications – For instance, Apple uses Yelp data when someone searches for local restaurants and businesses via its “Siri” service.

FourSquare is another major competitor in this field. One major difference from Yelp is that FourSquare allows for more social interaction between end users and the business. Users are able to “check-in” at your business and share, with their friends, their opinion of their visit. Business owners can create incentives for checking in at the shops with configurable reward levels. A relatively new player called Belly, focused on restaurants and eateries, recently made it appearance in Lufkin as well. With Belly, you scan a special code each time you visit and, after a few visits, you can earn free stuff.

Google and Microsoft also have competing local search businesses. Google has Places and Bing has the Bing Business Portal. Each service allows for you to “claim” your business and create a profile. This profile is visible to users who utilize their search tools at Google.com and Bing.com. Profiles can include pictures, addresses, business hours, and contact information.

Specialty sites are also important to focus on if they are in your niche. For instance, all restaurants and food services need to add a profile to UrbanSpoon.com. This website allows users to leave feedback and ratings about your business. You will want to read these reviews and respond when appropriate. Another popular site for very niche services is Angie’s List. This site allows for service professionals to create a profile and allow people to recommend and rate their offerings.

Although it is important to focus your advertising time and dollars on the most effective tools, it is essential that you take advantage of these free tools that people use on a daily basis. Whether you manage all of these social sites on your own, or utilize a social media management company, it is essential that you check in and ensure that your profile is up-to-date on a regular basis – bi-weekly is usually sufficient. Comments and ratings made via these sites are typically emailed to the address registered and can be handled on a case by case basis. By creating profiles at these social media sites, you increase the likelihood that your business will be found and, in turn, greatly increase sales.

The Day the Internet Went Down

September 19th, 2012 by Matt Massey

The internet went down on September 10, 2012. Well, not the WHOLE internet, but a very large portion of the internet. Why? GoDaddy, the number one domain reseller on the planet had internal network issues and their access to the internet became corrupt and their services went offline. Many of the servers which house websites went down as did one of the most important and yet overlooked services powering the internet – DNS Name Servers.

Most people have never heard of a NS or Name Server – and for good reason. The internet is designed to be easily used by humans. It is built to remove the technology layer from between information and user experience. You see, computers just aren’t as smart as we give them credit for. Computers cannot understand what google.com or masseymedia.com means. They rely on a numerical system of identification called an IP address. Each website, smart phone, computer, laptop, and other internet connected device has an IP address.

Now, as humans, we simply cannot remember the IP addresses of every website and device we use on a daily basis. Enter the Name Server. The Domain Name Server is like a huge telephone book that lists the IP address of each website and device on the internet. So, to visit google.com, your computer browser asks your Internet Service Provider for the IP address. Since most ISPs don’t cache their DNS lookups, they have to send the request on to an “authoritative” name server for that domain. The authoritative server will return the IP address to your ISP, and in turn, the ISP will in turn return the IP address for that site to you browser. Your computer then requests the web page, graphics, scripts, etc. by IP address.

GoDaddy has sold the most domain names and offers a free name server service. When their name servers went offline, there was no “authoritative” answer available and the requests just failed.

So, why am I writing about this? For two reasons: First, for businesses with website and other internet connected assets, it is essential that you plan for issues such as these and prepare accordingly. Utilizing secondary name servers, hosted in separate data centers, allowed our clients to avoid this issue.

Secondly, this is a perfect time to introduce everyone to a service we recommend to all clients and friends. It is called OpenDNS. This is a free for personal use service. They also have relatively inexpensive business plans. Functionally, OpenDNS is used to bypass the name servers of your local ISP allowing you access to geographically distributed network of DNS servers to help speed up name look ups and to ensure redundancy. OpenDNS also caches name server lookups in case a name server is down.

In addition, OpenDNS provides various levels of protection at the DNS level. So, if OpenDNS knows that the site you are about to visit contains a horrible virus, it can intervene and redirect you to a safe page with an explanation. Parents and business owners can also use built-in tools to limit access to websites that contain content such as pornography, gambling, social media, and many other categories. Not only does this help parents manage the sites their kids see, but it also helps businesses keep content that is offensive from their employees that might result in legal action.

Additional tools such as analytics let you see which sites your family or business are visiting and will also list potential malware and virus threats. The system can even alert you when a machine on your network is acting suspiciously and trying to access known malware servers and services.

Utilizing a third-party service such as this can allow a small business to have access to the same features and tools enterprises have had for years. They are able to utilize an additional layer of security and redundancy for a very small cost. And, for concerned parents, we are able to monitor the internet usage from our homes and ensure that our children are not able to access content we feel is harmful. For more information on OpenDNS, visit http://www.opendns.com.

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