Social media means more to the brand-consumer relationship than ever before – and there’s always opportunity to strengthen those customer connections.
Social media users are switching between seven social networking platforms, and they’re spending 95 minutes per day on average searching their socials.
Can you imagine the possibilities for reaching your ideal audience? We can.
Let’s get started with three ways you can sharpen up the rest of your 2023 on social media.
We get it. Change can be hard. Especially when that change means doing things like getting in front of a camera.
But keep this in mind: Your customers want to see you. And if getting in front of a camera makes you break into a sweat, remember you’ll be talking about what you know best: Your business. Unless you’re doing a live stream, you can hit “Record” as many times as you need before publishing.
The agriculture sector across the U.S. can be described as anemic at best thanks to the muddled political world that anyone working in Ag is well versed in. China used to be the No. 1 buyer of commercially grown soybeans in the U.S.; however, that has changed during the last couple years with a tariff-riddled trade war occurring between the two countries.
But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity for effective marketing. Let’s dive into the current environment before taking a peek at how you can put digital, social media and video marketing to use to promote and feature your grain marketers.
Put simply, President Trump and his administration promised on the 2016 campaign trail to hold China accountable for their trade practices. Just last week the White House identified China as a “currency manipulator,” which has been argued by economic analysts on both sides of the coin. The reality is that China is not a direct currency manipulator, but they don’t play by the same rules because they have the demand pull on their side.
The U.S. had mastered the supply push of soybeans to China from both the Pacific Northwest and the Gulf of Mexico until the two countries started slapping tariffs on each other. At first, it sounded like just political rhetoric, but to Trump’s credit, he has dug in and continued to escalate tariffs on imports from China to maximize pressure on the communist country.
China has seen their economy slowdown from these tactics among the current administration, but China tends to strategize over the long-term outlook and is most likely waiting to see how the 2020 elections turn out before proceeding one way or the other.
U.S. steel mills were printing money due to the new barrier of entry of Chinese metal until March, when things took a turn for the worse. Exports are what suffer (e.g., soybeans). The only hope for life in the soybean market rests on poor growing conditions or the off chance that China comes back to the table and buys U.S. origin soybeans.
The bad news is the Midwest experienced a wet spring where acreage that usually gets planted with corn was oversaturated, and farmers ended up planting soybeans instead. Not to mention there will be an estimated 1.05 billion (yes, with a “b”) bushel surplus across the United States before soybean harvest starts this year in October.
All of the above supply/demand scenarios make it awfully hard to get bullish soybeans for the next couple years. The good news is the Trump administration has pledged and delivered monetary relief for rural farmers who elected him into office in the first place.
In other words, prices are bad, but the government is cutting a check so life can go on as usual for those making a living off of the land. I’m still not seeing shiny new combines being driven off the lot of the John Deere dealership or land being bought up by producers of every size. Today’s environment feels like 1,000-acre farmers are making it ok, but the 5,000-plus-acre farmers are expanding operations slowly. All signs point to another strong soybean crop again this year with timely summer rains keeping prices depressed.
It appears Agriculture will have to remain in wait-and-see mode and battle with the cards they’ve been dealt as they always have. Large commercial exporters like ADM, BUNGE, CARGILL and LDC are not profitable in the current environment as grain divisions keep weighing down the balance sheets.
The overall outlook is that the industry will continue to constrict despite massive corporate tax cuts being awarded to Ag companies; all that did was allocate money to a rainy-day fund for corporations. Those working in Agriculture will continue to be told to do more for the same amount of money, or find a new career.
The Mississippi River and railroads in the northern plains are ready to get back to business as usual, but the whole value chain appears paralyzed, wearing a lot of temporary Band-Aids. During the next five years, the two major threats to Agriculture will be global warming, creating extreme weather patterns for growing conditions, as well as trade relations with China.
Yes, the market is volatile, and recent quarterly earning reports – among publicly traded companies at least – point to more consolidation in the industry. In other words, we should see more company mergers, organizational centralization and cost cutting among major players in the industry.
Keep in mind there is opportunity in that shift.
Farmers will continue to try and eliminate risk amidst the volatility. Grain companies are becoming more vocal with daily market recaps before and after daily trading sessions to establish credibility and provide advice for producers.
Eventually, farmers will sign up record amounts of production towards specialty marketing programs that establish floors and ceilings on yearly prices. Every grain company calls these marketing programs something different. Bunge called it the Alliance Advantage Program; Consolidated Grain and Barge called it their Equalizer family of products. They all take risk off the table.
And all of these major players have invested significant amounts of money training grain marketing specialists on the right marketing plan for each producer. Market factors, farm size, production risk and cash flow can steer a grain marketing specialist towards a specific type of marketing contract each year instead of simply holding town hall meetings every spring and summer across the Midwest to establish credibility.
In fact, the days of the vice president of your grain company spending two weeks holding town hall meetings discussing S&D’s from Fargo, ND, to Lettsworth, LA, are over. Ok, maybe you still have a handful of in-person potlucks with your top customers, but why not work smarter – not harder – by advertising your top marketing specialists?
In a very disciplined manner, you can coordinate a digital and social media marketing plan that drives farmers towards your company and experts. Setting up monthly spend budgets and targeting the right geographic areas stop costs from getting out of control and put less strain on your employees.
Let’s say you have a grain marketing specialist based out of West Memphis, AR, who covers northern Mississippi to Cape Girardeau, IL. Digital and social media marketing requires less in-person attention, and allows you to cover more ground for the same price as paying for monthly travel and entertainment.
If you still had money in the budget, you could supplement digital marketing and social media campaigns with a direct mail campaign that has the same look and feel, and drives the messaging home through multiple media.
You could also create a professional video of each grain marketing specialist that links to a landing page with a form fill to schedule an appointment to learn more.
Interested in learning more about how to put your marketing budget to the best use? Reach out today; we’d love to chat with you more to understand how we can help you do just that.
Did you know that 96% of employees who are happy with their benefits are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs?
So, how do you ensure employees not only know which benefits their employer is offering, but also understand those benefits to make an informed decision about their health and voluntary benefits selection?
As you gear up for your clients’ – or your own employees’ – fourth quarter open enrollment, here’s a few things to keep in mind:
And then when you think you’ve communicated too much, communicate again! Remember the Rule of Seven: People need to see or hear your message at least seven times before they take action. And this becomes even more important with benefits communications, when education is crucial.
When you’re communicating, change up the way you share your message. Don’t assume everyone will see the table tent on the lunch table or the poster in the hallway. Use email, social media, the intranet, instant messaging, desk drops (yes, the old-fashioned paper kind), direct mailers to the home to engage the spouse, group meetings, manager meetings, one-on-one meetings – and more! The sky’s the limit. Just make sure you change up your media.
Are you talking to a Baby Boomer? A Gen Xer? A Millennial? Or maybe a Gen Zer? Each is going to need different info – and each will react to your messages differently. It’s imperative to vary your messaging within your media to hit each audience.
No, not Ghostbusters! This time, it’s needs to be your company’s benefits expert: Someone in HR, your broker, the president of your company, etc. Determine who can answer employee questions about their benefit package – and do it in a timely manner. Employees need to know they have someone they can turn to with their questions before open enrollment.
Think about how employees would be most inclined to participate in open enrollment. With a dedicated benefits expert on hand to help and answer questions? With their spouse at their side to discuss? Think about how you would want to enroll, and what would make the process seamless and smooth for you. Then consider how you can make it just as easy for employees.
Enrollment isn’t finished when the applications are all submitted. Not by a long stretch. It’s time to follow-up with surveys for all! That includes not only the employees who enrolled, but also the HR and benefits staff, managers, marketers, senior leadership and anyone else who was involved in putting the program and process together.
By putting some extra thought into the planning process and marketing efforts, you can pull off the best open enrollment you’ve had to date!
Want to talk more about how best to communicate, promote, educate and market before, during and after open enrollment? Reach out today – we’d love to chat more.
As always stay tuned until the next time we go Off the Radar.
You know what they say, an emoji a day keeps the doctor away. Well, there aren’t any emoji prescriptions just yet, but symbols are enhancing written language and becoming an essential part of modern communication.
Words are important, and emojis are just as powerful. If you aren’t using emojis to communicate with your customers, you’re missing out on a free and useful marketing tool. Let’s take a walk down memory lane to a very… emotional time in my personal life.
I was a freshman in high school. I remember staying up late one night thinking about my boyfriend at the time. This was the early 2000s when texting was new and expensive. I typed out three very short but heavy words on my Nokia 3650, “I love you,” and pressed send.
Seventeen years later I still clearly remember that night. I never got a response, and he broke up with me the next day. I wonder if things would have turned out differently if I had switch out the word “love” for “<3” before pressing send.
Today we not only have heart emojis ❤️, we also have a rainbow of colors – 16 to be exact. So how do we use these symbols to benefit our brands and relationships? Like a lot of symbols, emojis pack a lot of feeling into one character. You can use them to express heavy emotions without seeming too needy, aggressive or boy crazy (in my case). They lighten the mood. You can say things you would never be able to express in written words without looking crazy.
Now that we have established just how important emojis are, let’s dive into some best practices and how to use them to elevate your brand’s communication without getting broken up with – or worse, unsubscribed from.
The short answer: YES! But, emojis are most effective when combined with text. If you can effortlessly replace a word with an emoji for emphasis, your copy will be draw attention, pack an emotional punch and get your message across quickly.
With that being said, you rarely see emojis grouped to create a phrase or an entire sentence. That would be the equivalent of all caps and multiple exclamation points at the end of a written sentence. The sweet spot when it comes to emojis is adding one or two naturally into your copy; don’t go overboard. Less is always more.
Today you rarely see a social media post that doesn’t include an emoji. The old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words still holds true. Images are a critical part of social media. They delight and entertain your audience while grabbing and (hopefully) keeping their attention. Powerful visuals are a must when it comes to social media, and that includes emojis. These tiny pictures make your message look less cluttered and more fun!
And there is more good news: Emojis cross language barriers because they are international! Who doesn’t understand the basic message behind a smiley face? Your brand can take advantage of this and not only attract millennials but customers and followers from all over the world.
Here are a few rules to remember when it comes to social media and emoji use:
Using emojis in email subject lines let you quickly express your message without adding more clutter to your customers’ inboxes.
Many brands are now picking one emoji to include first in every email subject line they send so their customers can quickly identify their emails in the hundreds they receive each day. Certain emojis are becoming a natural extension of many brands. These colorful graphics can help your emails stand out in the sea of unreads.
Here are a few rules to remember when it comes to emails and emoji use:
Start adding a few emojis to your social media and email subject lines. Step up your communication game, and use the free tools that are at the tip of your fingers. Emojis allow you to say the things you never thought you could say before while simultaneously seeming more approachable and fun!
Stealth Creative boasts a social media and digital team that’s wired into the internet.
Drop us a line if you need our help…We <3 U
We’ve heard the legend too many times to count. The lone social media marketer, clicking away at their phone keyboard deep into the night. They are essential, but your company – and that lone wolf – deserves more.(more…)
With nearly 4 billion active users on social media, not having a presence is like conducting a conference call with a bag phone.
Every business struggles with converting leads into customers to a certain extent.
And unless you’re the exception to the rule, we want to explain why (and shake your hand).
In this two-part series, we’ll discuss some common problems businesses experience when trying to convert customers, as well as the strategies for boosting and maintaining conversion rates.
In Part 1, we’ll be focusing on consumer touchpoints, which we’re defining as any contact a consumer has with your business or brand.
You’re most likely familiar with the common touchpoints: Your actual brand, social media presence, your advertising and even your website content.
Still, conversions may elude you, even if you’re on top of maintaining these, leading to the universal ¯_(ツ)_/¯
As it turns out, there are a whole lot of touchpoints on the “hi to buy” journey, and a single slip up at any of these steps can be an instant turnoff for potential clients
These touchpoints can be anything from old signage to getting directions to your business from Google.
Individually these irksome things may seem minor, but if there are a lot of them, they tend to snowball into an infuriating mess. The last word you want people using to describe your business is “annoying”!
But have no fear! Here are some pro tips to help you assess and fix some of the most common touchpoint issues – turning customer chagrin into a customer win.
We’ve all been there: Calling a customer support line only to come away with a bad taste in your mouth and a rising temper.
Your phone line is a crucial point of contact between a consumer and your business. Whether they need more information or wish to engage your services, a real hang-up here can lead people to tune out your business.
People want friendly, reliable customer support. But they don’t always get it. Luckily, there’s an easy way to check under the hood from time to time to ensure a smooth-running operation.
Have someone call in and pose as a potential customer. If they report problems, you’ll need to work with your team to ensure they reflect the quality your business represents.
We know this sounds a whole lot like an episode of Undercover Boss. But keeping on top of your customer service is a must if you want to stay on top of the conversion game.
In the age of connectivity, GPS has become an essential part of our day-to-day navigation needs.
But what if the location we enter into Google Maps doesn’t have a clear route to it?
If you don’t stay up to date on getting people to your door, you’re liable to end up as lost as your customers when trying to figure out where they’ve all gone.
Take time every once in a while to look up these things, and correct as needed. Keeping your customers’ commute in mind will help ensure that when it comes to conversion, you’re always in the driver’s seat.
Ok, we’ll be the first to admit that not every company can operate a social media account like Wendy’s. Just because you aren’t roasting the competition, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to engage with customers.
Social media offers an unprecedented opportunity to receive and respond to consumer feedback.
As one of the few opportunities for two-way interaction between your brand and your customer base, you can’t afford to skimp on devoting resources to a robust presence on social media. You can even use social media to drive consumers into other touchpoints you highlight.
We often encounter businesses that will throw up an account with consumer comments disabled and just a post or two containing a short company bio with a link to their business’ website. If you aren’t interacting with your customers, you’re missing the whole “social” part of “social media.” If ever there was a justification for a facepalm, it would be this right here. (If your company did a good job of using social media, you’d know what we’re talking about.)
Ignoring a touchpoint as important as this tells your customers you’re out of touch.
If you guessed this next section has something to do with websites, you’re absolutely right! Specifically, we’re talking about your website.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Your website is your brand.
Your brand itself is THE most important touchpoint a consumer has. So imagine being a frustrated consumer trying to figure out how to navigate through a clutter of poorly placed tabs and broken links. Yikes!
A lot of businesses build spiffy websites meant to showcase their company’s capabilities. But if you sacrifice user-friendliness for that cool new look, you might be paying for more than just a clever URL.
If customers have trouble clicking through your webpages, you can be sure they will take their surfing (and their business) somewhere else.
We understand how difficult it is to design a webpage that really works for a business. It can take time and resources your business may not have. But because – say it with me – your website is your brand, it’s a project well worth it!
Lucky for you, Stealth has years of experience in designing websites that are both stylish and functional.
But wait! There’s more! Stealth offers customer journey mapping to help you figure out ALL of the touchpoints where your business could stand to improve, from big to small.
If you want to find out more, drop us a line today. And stay tuned for Part 2 of our Conversion series where we’ll be discussing creative ways to raise the roof on conversion rate
Whether you’re marketing a super-exciting new product, or providing an essential, everyday service, a strong social media plan should be one of the fixtures of your marketing strategy.
But for all the convenience and connectivity social media offers, it might seem tricky — even daunting — to wrap your head around forging a plan to use it effectively for your business.
Like it or not, an effective marketing plan is only complete with a well-thought-out social media plan.
I love movies. As a self-styled “cinemaniac,” I tend to see the world in a different way. For me, Steve Martin summed it up all so nicely in Grand Canyon when he said to Kevin Kline:
“All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”
This blog will offer that same thought pattern:
All of advertising’s riddles are answered in movie quotes.