Four tips to stand out on social media

Photo by Marina Claire Photography courtesy of Modern CLE.

Photo by Marina Claire Photography courtesy of Modern CLE.

The old saying “if you build it, they will come,” may have once been pertinent to a business strategy before the internet, but when it comes to scaling in 2019, it couldn’t be farther from reality. In the decade or so since social media for businesses has mainstreamed, most of us have come to discover that to do it well and to see it affect your bottom line positively, you have to make consistent, dedicated, and strategic effort.

Now with hundreds of millions of users – even billions on Facebook – the social space is more congested than ever. How do you get your brand to stand out amongst the crowd? Here are a few guidelines you can implement right now that I shared with the audience at Behind the Story with Modern CLE to help get you started.

Four tips to stand out on social media

1.) Have a strong sense of brand.

This is beyond just a logo, but who you are, what you look like, what you are trying to say and how you say it. Standing out on social media is an art and a science, and your brand falls into the art category. What does that look like? Beyond just a logo, have a website to capture leads and emails beyond your social media followers. Make sure that website like your social channels has a consistent voice, the same color palettes,

A brilliant way to help you illustrate your brand is to have quality photography. Quality content is often Save the amateur photos and videos for your Instagram Stories, and view your feed as more of a portfolio or catalog. Schedule a quarterly photo shoot and capture three months worth of high-quality images and video for your social media channels. The rest of your posts can be filled in with user-generated content, your own social media graphics you’ve designed, and so forth. You’ll want to create an aesthetic that is true to your brand as well as shows a rhythm that your audience can anticipate. A great way to do this is stick with a handful of conversation topics (I’d suggest no more than five). For example, on the FACTEUR feed, we focus primarily on 1. offering tips, 2. featuring our clients, 3. sharing behind-the-scenes content of our studio, 4. revealing the latest marketing news, 5. sharing content we find to be inspirational to us in the moment. You won’t see a curveball post of what we are having for lunch, unless it ties back to one of these topics (like lunch at a client’s restaurant, behind-the-scenes of a team meeting, etc).

2. Make a date with your audience.

This next tip is more behind-the-scenes, but it’s one of the most important: be consistent on the platforms you choose to communicate. Spend time every week to schedule content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Be sure are you are scheduling at the optimal time based on your analytics, and try to always sign off with a call to action. Be sure the times that you are scheduling are times you are available to engage, as well. Algorithms favor responsiveness, so don’t just post and disappear. In general, people are on social media during hours outside of the work day, but not the weekend. So think lunchtime and evenings, but check your own analytics to determine when your audience is most likely to see your content and engage with it to help you stand out. Every Monday at @facteurpr on Instagram, we do a Monday Q+A on Stories. Our followers have come to expect this dialogue from us, and if we miss a Monday or post late, we now hear about it! Need some ideas on what to post? Check out our content calendar workbooks.

Instagram business accounts that posted up to 10 segments on Stories each day earned twice as many impressions than those that didn’t post on Stories at all.
— Forbes

3. Be real.

The best place I can tell you to exercise this is on Stories. Forbes recently revealed that Instagram business accounts that posted up to 10 segments on Stories each day earned twice as many impressions than those that didn’t post on Stories at all.Furthermore, engagement is higher on Stories than the news feed, meaning brands are more likely to see action taken – likes, emoji drops, or DMs – if they post on Stories v. the newsfeed. (Stories alone has 400 million daily users!) Being at the top of the news feed with your Stories is prime real estate, and you want to keep it, so try to post on Stories often. Plus, video is the most consumed content type and this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. I think we’re going to see more for IGTV, too. Better yet, make a date with your audience and do an IGTV or Stories the same time each day or week. Similarly, show your face on Stories and on your feed as often as able. People want to know who you are, not just what you are selling. Plus photos of faces are 40% more liked than photos without faces. Audiences like relatability and vulnerability, and it’s great to do that in your photos as well as captions.

4.) Spend your money wisely.

Social media is becoming more pay-to-play, and even with Instagram’s latest algorithm shift back to a more chronological feed, we’re still finding only about 5% of anyone’s followers seeing the content that they post. My favorite avenue to advertise on is Instagram Stories. We already know the engagement rate is higher there, and with an ad, you get the coveted Swipe Up button. This is a great way to spend any quarterly ad dollars.

Another great way to spend any quarterly ad dollars is to partner with micro influencers and community members over a period of time vs. for a singular post. View these collaborations as long-lasting relationships versus simply “sponsored” opportunities. This is a great way to build an influential ambassadorship, support other business owners, and really see the long-term value of your efforts.

What do you think of these tips? Any you’d like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

How to know if your business is ready for PR

Photo: Marina Claire Photography

Photo: Marina Claire Photography

"How do you know if you're ready for PR?" This is a question we often hear from potential clients. They know they want to gain exposure for their brand, but what does it take? I addressed this very question with Modern CLE on Sunday’s Behind the Story event at the FACTEUR PR office, and wanted to share the insight with our readers here, too.

The fact of the matter is, you always need PR. You always want people saying great things about your brand, so you need to initiate that by being a voice for your brand. PR is more than just media relations. It’s events, it’s customer service, it’s managing how you interact with people when they walk through your door, it’s the messaging and imaging you deliver through social media. Now the question of when to know if you need to hire a PR pro to increase your exposure boils down to a couple things. 

1. Do you have a strong brand? If the look and feel is consistent, your mission and values are apparent, you know exactly who your audience is, the tone and voice of your content is in line with who you are as a brand, and the business itself is operating as it should, you’re going to be ready for communicate all of that clearly.

2. Can you afford it? When you’re hiring a PR person, you are paying for their time, not for a media placement like in advertising. To give an example, a full-page ad in Martha Stewart Living is $233,000. An article will only cost you the time of the publicist, which includes everything from researching the opportunity, creating and compiling creative assets, putting together a press kit or materials, story ideation, sending samples, pitching, securing, follow-up, interview coordination, reporting, and so forth. However, the important thing to note is that editorial coverage is never a guarantee and not always on your schedule like advertising, but arguably its value is higher because you have a reputable third party endorsing or covering your brand. 

3. Can you handle increased recognition? It’s not always an immediate correlation that PR leads to revenue. Rather, PR elevates reputation, which can absolutely lead to greater revenue. So make sure your business can scale to meet the demands.

At FACTEUR PR, we offer scalable public relations services, from coaching to committed engagements. If you have any questions at all, drop a comment below or contact us!

Digital content and social media ideas for December

While we're planning for 2019, let's not forget we still have one important and busy month to end the year on, December! Can you believe the holiday season is here? It can definitely be hard to think about making time to curate content for your blog, PR, and social media channels when this month's to-do list seems almost a mile long. Here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

December is...

  • Root Vegetables Month

  • Exotic Fruits Month

  • AIDS Awareness Month

  • Universal Human Rights Month

  • Write a Business Plan Month

  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Daily opportunities include...

December 1: Day With(Out) Art Day
December 2: National Mutt Day
December 4: National Cookie Day
December 11: International Children's Day
December 13: National Cocoa Day
December 15: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
December 18: Free Shipping Day
December 30: Bacon Day
December 31: National Champagne Day
 

Want more content ideas? Check out our curated content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instas tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. Right now, we're offering each calendar for $9, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!

Reflect + Refresh: Brand considerations for the New Year

Depending on the situation, this time of year is when a brand is either winding down or going full speed ahead to achieve a successful holiday season. As these last few weeks pass by, remember to take a step back and look at everything you and your company has accomplished. Celebrate the successes!

However, it is equally as essential to also analyze where improvements can be made. Now is the moment to make time to stop and reflect on what has happened. This activity can be done over the course of a few weeks, or you could sit down and list everything that comes to mind in one go. It is all about making the contemplation session as beneficial as possible!

FACTEUR PR has three areas to add to your to-do list, along with some questions to ask yourself that may help with the process.

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Mission and Vision

  • Is your mission statement still accurate?

  • Who has your audience grown to include?

We are aware of the amazing growth that a business can have in just one year, particularly for small businesses that are still in those critical early building stages. It is necessary to pause and consider if the direction the company is going is still fully parallel to that of its mission. Compare the different aspects of growth to the elements of your mission statement and the values that accompany it. Though your brand’s mission may not be literally written out for your audience to see, having it for the team to refer to is undoubtedly helpful to stay on track. (Thinking you may need a reset button on that statement? Here is a great resource to help.)

Social Media Presence

  • Are you staying on-brand with the company’s aesthetics and voice?

  • How does the tone of your content adapt to seasonal/cultural/societal shifts?

Take note of what kinds of posts are best received and focus on those. Do this while keeping everything relevant, however. Just because everyone loves a cute puppy photo does not mean it should be utilized over a more relatable image. Content needs to have strong visuals and writing to provide customers with a well-rounded message. It also is important to observe how your target market utilizes social media. Are they actually moving away from Facebook and towards Pinterest? There are trends in not only products and ideas but how individuals access and share them. Don’t forget to keep an eye out! Not sure how to read your audience? Just ask them!

Customer Interaction

  • Do you have accessible avenues for consumer feedback?

  • Do you encourage follower promotion by re-sharing their content, or do you keep all promotional content in-house?

It can be challenging to balance staying true to oneself and following what the customer desires. Because of this, it is a good idea to keep a level of two-way communication. Whether you make a point of responding to followers’ comments and questions on your Instagram posts or have an easy option for leaving online reviews, allowing customers to share their thoughts provides them with a way to feel and be more connected. Also, welcoming images or media that have been created by customers, known as user generated content, can increase brand connections. Both of these improve brand loyalty. This in turn lets a company make more informed decisions moving forward.

As you may have noticed, each of these areas are intertwined with the next. How a customer can connect with your brand may often rely on your presence online. The company’s reputation of honesty and/or transparency for the consumer relies on the proper execution of its values through the various physical and digital avenues. This is why we advise for a brand, personal or professional, to unpack these elements at the end of the year to have a fresh, successful start to 2019!

Warmest holiday wishes - we can’t wait to see what is to come in the year ahead!

Tips to ignite excitement around a product launch: what we learned from Fashion Week

It is always exciting to share new products with your consumers. Along with all of the effort put into external promotion, however, we can’t forget about creating content for our own platforms. As we always say at FACTEUR PR, “own your story to share your story!”

Want a tip for approaching your social media in a potentially different way? Treat the drop of a new item like an event! Who wouldn’t want more customer anticipation building up to the release?

The concept:

A good source of inspiration for this kind of strategy is in the fashion industry, specifically how luxury brands engage followers during the release of their collections each season at Fashion Week. An easy way to look at the shared content is in three parts: before, during, and after the event. Instagram, and particularly Instagram Stories, are becoming increasingly important and utilized for brand engagement. Here are some examples of what to look for and share.

Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

Pre-Show:

  • Instagram Story Takeover (example: a show attendee shares the process of getting ready for the show.)

  • Small Detail Posts (example: sneak peeks of the show venue, inspirational quotes or images that contributed to the designs, and glances at the production process catch the attention of followers.)

  • Attendance List (example: if someone cool is showing up or is otherwise involved, let viewers know.)

During the Show:

  • A Garment in Motion (example: choosing a few of the strongest or most unique looks from the collection works well when shown on the model in video or photo form.)

  • The Finale Video (example: even a fraction of the moment when all of the garments can be seen at once provides the observer with a good grasp on elements of the collection.)

Post-Show:

  • Attendees’ Responses (example: a candid interview occurs to capture the emotional responses of a variety of viewers.)

  • Edited Visuals (example: the sharing of final images and/or videos of the looks occurs after they have been sorted and edited to meet the company’s level of quality and aesthetic.)

An elegantly applicable brand to observe is that of Dior, one that is often acknowledged for their extensive social media content. On September 24, the luxury fashion house showed their Spring/Summer 2019 RTW collection in Paris. Its Instagram account utilized the story feature throughout the day. Instead of following the pre-show preparation of a well-known influencer, they featured a fresh-faced model describing each part of the fashion show she experienced (shown above). Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

How to apply it:

Each of the kinds of content described can be translated and pared down to your specific products or services before, during, and after a launch. Post a sneak peek of the cool packaging or a video talking through your sources of inspiration. After the product is released, maintain its new position in the market. Though your business likely does not have the ability to make the volume of content that a brand such as Dior has, sharing a handful of quality visuals in the following days is already a significant reminder to your audience! At FACTEUR PR, we can’t say enough about the importance of continuing on after a big brand moment has happened. Keeping up public relations both online and off is a constant endeavor, so keep it fresh and creative!

Looking for assistance with your public relations and social media strategy ahead of your brand or product launch? We can help! Head to our Contact page to get started!

Instagram Story images c/o @dior. Cover image c/o Cleo Glover.

FACTEUR PR welcomes Emily Kopchak to its team

Emily Kopchak FACTEUR Intern

We are so excited to welcome our fall intern, Emily Kopchak to the FACTEUR PR team! Emily is a senior Fashion Merchandising major at Kent State University with minors in Fashion Media and Visual Communication Design. Through her education, she has had the opportunity to complete a summer semester in NYC and a fall semester abroad in Florence, Italy. At Kent State, she is also an honors student and the Chief Administrative Officer of the National Retail Federation Student Association chapter on campus. Emily is interested in the creative processes fashion and non-fashion brands utilize to connect with their consumers. Her other passions include exploring in nature and finding the best doughnuts in the world.

Emily will join Hannah Krisinski through December - please join us in welcoming her to the team! Leave a comment below, and feel free to send her an email. Plus, stay tuned for some blogs and other great content from Emily and Hannah throughout the coming months here on the FACTEUR blog! 

Social media and story ideas for September

September content ideas

September is nearly here, which means summer is almost over (sadly)! But who else thinks fall is the best season? The approaching season has no shortage of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging, and September is no exception. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

September is...

  • Better Breakfast Month
  • Whole Grains Month
  • Yoga Month
  • Healthy Aging Month
  • Self Improvement Month
  • Classical Music Month

Daily opportunities include...

September 3: Labor Day
September 6: National Read a Book Day
September 18: National Cheeseburger Day
September 21: International Day of Peace
September 22: First Day of Fall
September 25: One Hit Wonder Day
September 26: National Pancake Day
September 27: Women's Health & Fitness Day
September 28: Drink Beer Day
September 29: National Coffee Day
 

Want more content ideas for the year? These are just a few of the ones we've identified! We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instant Resources tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for $9, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!

PIN THIS!

PIN THIS!

Currently: Favorites with Hannah Krisinski

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Welcome to Currentlya new series from FACTEUR PR where we share the latest favorites of our staff and clients here on our blog! In this edition, get to know Hannah Krisinski, FACTEUR PR Intern. Read on!

Name: Hannah Krisinski

Job: FACTEUR PR Intern

Location: Cleveland, Ohio

College you attend: Cleveland State University, studying Promotional Communications with a minor in Digital Design 

Currently, my favorite...

Book I recently read or reading: I’m usually super busy so I don’t have a ton of time to read, but I have been slowly working my way through Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath. It was a suggestion from my design professor for some inspiration to be applied in both my life and work, and it has some really great points. I never thought I would be the kind of person who reads the “self-help” type of book, but this one is so good! 

Part of my job: Getting to know potential/current clients! I absolutely love the process of getting to know a new brand or business. Seeing the client’s passion for what they’re doing, and the challenge of personalizing everything you do for them based on that, is always such a good learning experience. 

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Album or song: Drake’s new song, “Nice for What,” has been on repeat on my phone for days!

Magazine I read: This probably makes me sound like an old lady, but when I go to get my hair done, I always read through the entirety (every page, front to back!) of either Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue while I’m sitting in the salon. It’s like my ultimate relaxing me-time and also a great way to catch up on all the goings-on of popular culture.

Blog I read: This might not exactly be a blog, but my absolute favorite e-reading comes from the W Magazine In & Out email subscription. Every few days, they send out a page of current trends, news from the fashion/entertainment industry, and culture, among other things. It’s written in a fun sort of “what’s hot and what’s not” format and has lots of dry humor, which I love. 

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Place I visited: I studied abroad in London, England this past summer, and it absolutely felt like home to me for the two months I was there. London is such a beautiful city and has incredible culture, people, food, and scenery that you can’t help but fall in love with. I also absolutely have to mention Edinburgh, Scotland (pictured above). It’s not a city on most people’s radar, but oh goodness, it should be! I was only there for a few days, but it stole my heart. 

Clothing/accessories/shoes I bought: This is honestly the hardest question! I’ll confess I am a bit of a shopaholic… I’ll shout out my favorite thing that I’m wearing a lot right now. It has to be a scarf I bought in Edinburgh, made from Scottish sheep’s wool, and colored like those classic Burberry scarves. I love to throw this on with a trench, or tie it around my purse handle if it’s a bit warmer. I also feel like I have to mention a pair of earrings from the Balmain collaboration with H&M. They are the funkiest and largest earrings I own. I feel like they are timeless, and they are my favorite thing I have ever splurged on. I have never worn them out because they are that intense and extremely heavy but I love to open the box every now and again just to look at those stunners! 

Event I attended: This is more of an exhibition. (But I’m gonna say it, anyway!)  Eyewitness Views at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I have a membership to the museum through my school, so if I’ve got nothing to do on a Sunday, that’s where I go. I saw this exhibition a few days ago and the whole collection really blew me away. 

Instagram account: I get a lot of style inspiration from Gabriel Gzimailaite. She likes to be frank with her audience, letting them know that her life is not always as glamorous as it seems on instagram, which is a nice contrast to most fashion influencers out there. Oh, and my own, hannikayz, of course!

Food I ate/restaurant I tried: My ultimate go-to is falafel at Tommy’s, which is a Cleveland institution, but you can find me trying out any and all restaurants with vegan options. A more recent favorite has to be Townhall. It’s located so close to me, in Ohio City, and they have a super unique and delicious veggie burger. Beet ketchup anyone?

Drink: I always say a glass of Prosecco a day keeps the doctor away! But, in all seriousness, I have an almond milk vanilla latte every morning to get my day started off right.  

TV show or movie I watched: I just binged the newest season of How to Get Away with Murder on Netflix. That show always makes me want to become a badass woman lawyer, or at least dress like one!

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Thing overall I'm obsessed with: Chanel runway shows. I can binge watch them just like a TV show. The extreme effort that goes in to every single one to make them totally unique gets me every time. My personal fave is the SS14 Haute Couture show, which is really what got me into fashion, and I constantly go back to it even as new shows come out.  

Currently: Favorites with Chloe Taylor

Chloe-Taylor-FACTEUR-PR-Internship

Welcome to Currentlya new series from FACTEUR PR where we share the latest favorites of our staff and clients here on our blog! In this edition, get to know Chloe Taylor, FACTEUR PR Spring Intern. Read on!

Name: Chloe Taylor

Job: FACTEUR PR Intern

Location: Valdosta, GA

College you go to: Valdosta State University, studying Communication and Public Relations

Currently, my favorite...

The Idiot Book

Book I recently read or reading: I’m currently reading The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Being a cross-cultural communication major at heart, two of my favorite things to study are language and culture (+ the way they interact). This novel examines both of those things in a very beautiful way and shares a cute love story at the same time!

Part of my job: All of the new things I’ve been learning! I’ve been able to take things I enjoy in my everyday life and put them into my work which is a really cool thing to be able to do.

Album or song: It’s not a new album, but every summer I come back to Evil Friends by Portugal. The Man. It’s been my go-to summer album every since it dropped in 2013.

Magazine I read: I have an entire collection of Nylon issues I adored in high school and was super bummed when I heard they wouldn’t be printing anymore.

Blog I read: the blue eyed gal. Every blog post is written in both English and Spanish, so it’s been a great tool to use as I’ve been trying to improve my Spanish lately! (+ Augustina Torti one of the coolest girls I can think of!!)

BEACHVIEW BOOKS IN ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA

BEACHVIEW BOOKS IN ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA

Place I visited: I’d like to do a lot more traveling, but I love going to St. Simons Island in Georgia. It’s a quiet little beach town with a lot of greenery and biking trails. Plus, it features one of my favorite little bookshops that’s filled with used classics!

Clothing/accessories/shoes I bought: A few weeks ago, I bought this hand-dyed Pisces koi fish shirt from Urban Outfitters and it’s super soft/cute/very flowy. I can’t get enough of it!

Event I attended: This isn’t a professional event, but we have little culture nights at my college where people share stories, art, dances, and writings they’ve done in their own languages or with references to cultures they’re a part of/studying/appreciate. Those are really cool, and we had an Arabic-French night I went to with some friends recently.

Instagram account: I feel like I should use this opportunity to plug myself, but I’ll refrain haha! The only non-celebrity/company I have notifications on for is @laiapcy! She’s always posting the cutest outfits and pictures of her little dog Jack!

Food I ate/restaurant I tried: I don’t have any particular restaurant in mind, but I love little local sandwich shops! Anytime I go to a new place, that’s something I look for.

Drink: Iced green tea. Didn’t even have to think about that one!

TV show or movie I watched: I actually don’t watch a lot of TV! I usually only keep things like reality shows on for background noise.

Thing overall I'm obsessed with: My Wacom tablet! It was gifted to me for Christmas and using it to make digital art has been a really relaxing hobby for me lately.

How to take on event planning & marketing to college students

marketing to college students

I recently took over the marketing department at my university’s bookstore. As a primarily commuter campus, our store’s goal for marketing was “outreach, outreach, outreach.” This meant creating and executing events that would bring more students into the store and create an elevated awareness of our presence in the university population.

When you throw an event for a company you work for, whether you’re in charge of the marketing department or were just given the opportunity to pull something together, there are a few things to keep in mind that could help you to go from just throwing an event to succeeding at it.

There is no event if no one shows up.

Merely planning an event is not enough, you have to effectively market the event to your audience for it to be truly successful.

In my experience, trying to captivate the attention of anyone, especially college students, is very difficult. More than ever, people are moving and sifting through messages faster and faster. The American Marketing Association reports that people’s attention is the most scarce resource of any modern marketing plan. Whether it’s email, signage, flyers, or even word of mouth, people are capable of seeing and instantly dismissing any message. This means that whatever message you are putting out there has to be something worthy of their extended attention.

When I am marketing for the college campus community, I keep those statistics in mind. Because of the fact that my college student target audience have lives where they are constantly busy and merely skimming through every message they see, my goal is to get my message to them in as many ways as possible.

It is only because I have identified the habits of my target audience that I know this works best for my brand. You should take time to do the same; identify who your audience is, and then, how, when, where, and why they consume their media.

Every student has different media consumption habits; some delete all their emails and spend all day on social media, some will only ever see an email, some will only see signage, etc. So, I will do my best to cover all of those bases, repeatedly. (This includes any social media, the university weekly Events Calendar email blast, paper signage/handouts, and digital signage which is projected on screens around the Student Center.) I find that if I update every single possible place with messages about my event (starting about a month to three weeks beforehand) the majority of students will see it, and I will have the most success. Because I repeatedly hit up these things with posts and graphics, they will see my message more than once, driving some familiarity and curiosity about it.

This tactic of coming at the consumer from all possible angles is not the best for every target audience. In fact, with some target audiences it might drive annoyance more than anything. It is only because I have identified the habits of my target audience that I know this works best for my brand. You should take time to do the same; identify who your audience is, and then, how, when, where, and why they consume their media.

When you are faced with the task of getting the word out about an event, come up with an exact plan that you can see through to the end. Identifying your target audience will help you compile a list of every place you want a message to be. Finalizing this list should be your first step.

This list turned into my most critical organizational tool as it kept me focused and aware of every outlet I wanted during my entire planning process. Once you have identified your outlets, your message should be finalized. Customize the message for each outlet and then track progress in your original list. The more places your message appears, the more likely people are to start recognizing it and gaining interest in attending, which, leads to my next point:

Incentivize

College students often are looking out for number one: themselves.

In order to get people interested in coming to my events, I create some sort of incentive. People, and students especially, are extremely busy, so they won’t come to an event unless they benefit or they see the potential to benefit.

The most effective incentive for a store event is a discount on your merchandise. If your company is able, offer anywhere between 5-15% off one item when they come to your event. If this doesn’t apply to your company or brand, consider having guests be able to enter a drawing when they attend an event. I recently had success doing a giveaway for a $100 gift card to an upscale restaurant which brought people in because they wanted to win, and then ended up staying for the actual event.

If giveaways aren’t your thing, bring something to the event which will benefit your guests. As crazy as this sounds, one of my most successful incentives was when I brought in dogs from a local animal shelter for a stress relief event. My target audience go crazy for adorable dogs so I knew having some at my event would inspire a lot people to come. The best part about having something out of the ordinary like this is that word-of-mouth marketing comes into play. People texted and Snapchatted their friends when they saw an opportunity to play with some adorable puppies and encouraged their friends to also enjoy the experience. Therein lies your success: When people step into your space and see what you have to offer them and they like what they see. So, make sure what you’re offering is clear, obvious, and noteworthy. 

Interaction

Interaction with guests is absolutely critical to building a clientele and leading to more success in the future.

When you throw an event, introduce yourself and your colleagues to new faces and old. Whether you’re representing a large corporation or a small family-owned business, connections between people make a huge impact. Customer interaction is now more important than ever, with 54% of some companies rating customer interaction as being in their top 5 list of priorities, and half of those rating it their #1 priority.

You build trust when your guests can identify a face, voice, or attitude that they automatically can associate with your brand. One successful event will only lead to more successful events if you have made your attendees want to come back. This doesn’t mean leaving them happy, but leaving them happy AND wanting more.

Measure your success and identify your weaknesses.

Once you’ve thrown your first event, you will have a much better idea of what to plan for in future event planning. I’m not ashamed to say my first event didn’t go over that well because it enabled me to identify what I was doing wrong. If your attendance is low, you didn’t market or incentivize enough. If people came but seemed less than impressed, you didn’t plan or interact well enough.

With each event you plan, what works best will become more and more obvious and you will be able to expand and focus on those things that will create effective and successful events for your brand. And remember, marketing is an ever-changing field, so always try new things in order to be more successful.


Hannah Krisinski is a junior at Cleveland State University, where she studies Journalism and Promotional Communications and minors in Digital Design. She currently handles marketing, promotional work, and event planning for the CSU bookstore, where she is able to use creativity and innovative ideas to engage in campus life nearly every day.