Using Hashtags to Find Your Perfect Audience

When social media feels overcrowded, hashtags can help you find and connect with target audiences…if you know how to use them.

“If you build it, they will come.” The classic movie Field of Dreams popularized this mantra, which reasoned that if you put in the work to create something great, people will notice. It’s a great concept, but not always true. Especially when it comes to social media.

Today, there are more than 3 billion social media users worldwide. In that large of a crowd, it can be hard for your target audience to find you, even if you’re building really great Instagram posts.

That’s where hashtags can help.

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What if my brand isn’t inherently visual?

By now you know the value of social media and even Instagram Stories (if not, check out our previous blog posts on these topics – we’ll wait). But maybe you’re not sure how to make these visually driven platforms work for you because your product or service isn’t inherently visual. After all, we can’t all be glamorous like hospitality, retail or beauty – where quality photography and videography goes a long way. So, what do you do? Throw in the towel? No way!

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Banner Ads are Dead

Sorry to break the news, friends, but banner ads are dead. They’re annoying, interruptive and ineffective and there’s a new ad in town – the native ad.

But before we get into native ads, let’s back up for second and make sure we’re on the same page. First off, what’s a banner ad? You likely encounter them every day while perusing the interweb – and you probably ignore them entirely or accidentally click on them when they’re in your way. Banner ads are those rectangular graphic display ads that stretch across the top, bottom or sides of a webpage. Exhibit A:

banner ad example

Why are they dead?

Well, they’re annoying and worse, they often interrupt you while you’re trying to do important things on the internet like read an article about the 53 cutest dog photos of 2018. Banner ads are next-level annoying on mobile devices where screen space is more limited and you have to use extra time and energy to scroll past ads to get to the content you actually want to see. Therefore, it’s no surprise that over half of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental.

So, what should you turn to instead? The native ad!

What’s a native ad?

It’s an ad that looks like it belongs on the website you’re viewing – because it matches the form and function of that website.

For example, ads on your Facebook newsfeed look and behave like your other Facebook posts. The same is true for the ads on your Instagram feed – they look like the rest of the posts but they’re marked as “sponsored.”

native ad examples

Good native ads provide relevant, useful information to your viewer (related: check out our recent post about content marketing). Examples include sponsored content, like this article from the satirical news website, The Onion: Woman Going to Take Quick Break After Filling Out Name, Address on Tax Forms – you’ll notice that it’s sponsored by H&R Block. Makes sense, right? The Charlotte Agenda, a hyperlocal news website in our hometown also does this well – check out this guide to saving money in Charlotte, which is sponsored by Bank of America. Brilliant and useful, right?

another native ad example

Need more convincing? Native advertising performs – these types of ads are viewed 53% more than banner ads.

What other golden nuggets of learning do we have to share from the Digital Summit? Learn more here.

2017 Digital Summit – Our Experience and Takeaways

A few weeks ago, three-fifths of our crew attended the 2017 Digital Summit, which is THE annual conference for all things digital marketing. It’s two full days of information-packed sessions led by digital marketing’s thought leaders and visionaries, covering every topic you can imagine in the field. It’s really fun, cool and educational, but also totally overwhelming.

Didn’t make it to this year’s summit? Never fear! We put our new knowledge to the test to create this highly engaging infographic/ gifographic (!) to summarize our experience and highlight our main takeaways: 

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