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Check out our insights into the world of media and marketing, along with project spotlights, featured blogs from our client pages and other musings on how to optimize brand recognition in today’s technologically-driven environment.

7 Fundamentals for Starting Your Business Facebook Page

There’s nothing quite like starting with a blank slate. Sometimes, however, a blank slate can prove intimidating. During the holiday hustle, we can all appreciate a cheat sheet that helps us get to where we’re going a little faster. If your 2020 goal is to establish a social media presence for your business, a Facebook page is a great place to begin. So you’ve signed up—now what? Here, we’ll run through a few fundamentals for starting your business Facebook page.

Pick a profile and choose a cover.

When you approach your blank page, the most noticeable elements missing right away are your profile picture and cover art. Fill these in first to get a sense of completion right off the bat! For business pages, we recommend that your profile picture should be a variation of your logo so that followers can find you easily and strengthen brand association. Your cover art can be an image, slideshow of images or even a video. This is something we recommend switching out seasonally.

Fill in your company info.

Next among our fundamentals for starting your business Facebook page—fill in the specifics about your company. Facebook will prompt you to do this, or you can find the “About” tab to the left of the page and go from there. Critical info that should be completed right away includes your address, phone number, website, email, hours of operation, description and business category. There are more fields available, but you can flesh those out later.

Select a button.

In the top right corner of your page just below your cover art, you’ll see a blue rectangle that says “Add Button.” Clicking this and adding a button will allow you to lead followers to various calls to action, including “Book with you,” “Contact you,” “Shop with you” and more. Select the one that is most relevant to your business goals. If you are unsure, you can’t go wrong with “Contact you.” From there, you will be able to choose how you want page followers to contact you, whether it be direct message, email or phone.

Establish a username.

This item on our list of fundamentals for starting your business Facebook page may or may not be available to you immediately. Facebook sometimes does not give you the option to establish a username until after your page has been active for some time. If not, skip this step and be sure to check back for it after you’ve been using your page for a bit.

If the option is available, it will appear as “@Username” in gray font underneath the main title of your page and below your profile picture. To create a custom username, go to the “About” section and look for it under the “General.” Your username should be similar to your main page name (which is essentially, your business name).

Tell your story.

Another feature that you may or may not see on your page right away is the “Our Story” feature. If you do not see it on the left hand side of the main page, look in the “About” section. This feature allows you to go into a little more depth in describing your business (beyond the 255 character limit in the page description). Take a minute and tell your story to your brand followers. You can also include an image or graphic in this section.

Invite followers.

What’s a Facebook page without followers? Start inviting friends, family and colleagues to like your page. Then encourage those (who you feel comfortable asking) to invite their friends, family and colleagues as well. The more followers you have, the better engagement you can expect! In addition to individuals, it’s a good idea to go through and “like” other business pages as your page, in hopes that those pages might return the favor.

Produce your first post!

Your brand is doing great things—and now it’s time to let the world know about them. Graphic, video or just some simple copy to say, “Hello,”—the choice is yours. (Posts with visuals do statistically get higher engagement than copy-only posts, however.) Just remember to keep up with your posting consistently in order to yield the best results.

Summary

Don’t be scared of getting started. Instead, use these fundamentals for starting your business Facebook page as a quick guide to doing just that. Don’t want to worry about it at all? From page setup to content schedules, the McNutt & Partners team has you covered. Start the new decade off on a positive note!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

The Evolution of Email Etiquette: How We Interpret Emails in 2020

The dawn of a new decade is upon us, and that begs time for both reflection into the past and anticipation for what’s to come. Heading into 2020, we’re more connected than the human race has ever been—and most of that is thanks to digital forms of communication, like email. Being that it’s one of the primary ways we talk to one another on a daily basis, email etiquette is a concept that should be acknowledged, especially in a professional setting.

The evolution of email etiquette

As with any technology, the way we use email has evolved as we have become more and more comfortable using it. Ray Thomlinson is credited with having sent the first email (which was not a term that was coined until later) in 1971. Thomlinson said this first message was so forgettable that he does not remember for a fact what it said, but that it was likely some combination of letters like “QWERTYUIOP.”

From then through the end of the 20th century, email use became more and more commonplace. In the ‘80s, it was generally limited to government and military employees, students and academic professionals.  Then, the ‘90s opened a world of email possibilities to the masses with the founding of the World Wide Web.

While the @ connector format remains the same from Thomlinson’s first email to today, the context of our emails has progressed. Think about some of the first emails you ever sent. Were they a single incomplete sentence short? Likely. Were they riddled with grammar errors? Maybe. Was your punctuation in all the right places? Probably not. Was your email signature embedded with links to your online assets? Definitely not.

In the early days of email, these faults were far more acceptable than they are heading into the year 2020. Back then, we were all just learning. But now, the way you present yourself in an email—especially in a professional sense—can have a more significant effect on recipients’ impressions of you (and by default, your brand) than you may realize.

Email etiquette for 2020

The nature of today’s email exchanges are held to a higher standard than emails have ever been before. That’s because by now, most of us should be familiar enough with communicating over email to where email etiquette does not go out the window.

In considering how we use email today vs. decades ago, we can glean a few tips for keeping proper email etiquette intact.

Pay attention to timeliness.

Responding in a timely manner to an email is everything—even if it’s just to say that you saw the email and you will provide a more in-depth response later. Our communication via email is quicker than it has been in the past, and therefore people expect quicker responses.

Punctuation and grammar are top priority.

Especially in a professional sense (but honestly in a personal one too), punctuation and grammar affect the impression people get of you when communicating digitally. You don’t have your face to convey emotion otherwise—just the text! Besides making sure grammar is correct, think about the way you’re using punctuation. A message with all periods tends to set a robotic tone. Exclamations warm it up a little, and even throwing an emoji in there here and there can help. Remember, emotion doesn’t convey the same way across the digital landscape as it does over the phone or in person.

Set the appropriate tone.

Part of email etiquette in 2020 is knowing your audience. If you are addressing someone for the first time, your messaging should probably be crafted a bit more formally. If you’re communicating with someone who you email often, feel free to be a bit more casual—as long as you’re still appropriate.

Know when (and when not) to email.

While in the year 2020 we would like to think that everyone is familiar and comfortable with email, it’s not always the case. Know your customers. For example, if you have an older client who gets frustrated with email easily and the point is just not getting across—call him or her. Or conversely, if you know someone who prefers to explain things in written form vs. verbally, then email may be the way to go.

Avoid going overboard.

There’s a term for that—it’s called spam. Don’t spam your email recipients by sending too many messages, too often. If you forgot to say something and need to follow up with a second message, that’s fine, but try not to make a habit of sending multiple, one-thought emails in a row.

Summary

The start of a new decade ushers in all kinds of opportunity to start with a clean slate—or continue the successful slate you already have going for you! As we consider how email has evolved over the last few decades, we can only imagine what we’ll be saying another 10 years from now.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

8 Reasons to Be Thankful for Digital Marketing

The week of precariously fried turkeys, awkward family interactions and food comas coupled with stretchy pants is here for another year. During Thanksgiving week, we throw around the word “thankful” pretty often. “I’m thankful for my family.” “I’m thankful for my job.” “I’m thankful for a roof over my head.” All great things. But today we’re thinking outside the box—with reasons to be thankful for digital marketing.

You can get your content out there quickly. 

When we say that digital marketing is instant, we mean that quite literally. Within seconds, you can take a picture of your product and have it uploaded to the digital sphere for all the world to see.

It’s (generally) less expensive.

Many of the tools involved in digital marketing (like social networks) are available for use free of charge. Sure, there are ways to spend money on these platforms to expand your reach, but even then the costs are negligible in comparison to most traditional forms of advertising. You also have more options reflective of various price ranges.

The possibilities are diverse.

Speaking of variety, no longer is marketing confined to two-dimensional surfaces. Among our reasons to be thankful for digital marketing is the fact that there’s more license for creativity. From graphics to video to augmented reality, branded content now exists on multiple creative platforms.

It’s not hard to make changes on the fly.

Uploading digital content is much easier than say, installing a print billboard. If you have a price change or want to extend the dates on your special, digital marketing allows us to do that with a few clicks. Ask the billboard people to change a price tag and you’ll be looking at significant time and money to get it resolved.

Brands can convey multiple messages at once.

There’s only so much space in a magazine or on a direct mail flyer. The internet, however, is virtually infinite (pun intended). Digital marketing allows us to display as many marketing messages as we want, simultaneously, across various platforms.

Digital media is better quality.

High-res, 4K—it all means one thing: high quality. The world of digital media allows us to create clearer, more engaging advertisements than our print predecessors—and it only promises to get better as technology evolves.

It’s easily trackable.

Unless you ask, you can’t determine which of your traditional forms of advertising influenced a consumer to walk into your store or make a phone call. Link clicks, website visits, online purchases and more are extremely trackable, however, from a digital marketing standpoint.

You can market to the most relevant audiences.

As uncomfortable as it makes some people to think about, our digital behavior is tracked. This gives marketers the opportunity to funnel their content in front of the eyes of those more likely to be interested in their products or services. On the flip side, consumers have the benefit of having a better chance of seeing ads that interest them as opposed to those that simply clutter their digital lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Along with these solid reasons to be thankful for digital marketing, we want to say how thankful we are for each of the wonderful businesses and brands that we get the opportunity to work with each day. We truly enjoy helping our clients to grow and succeed, and we thank you for putting us in a position to help you do just that. Happy Thanksgiving!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Our Opinion: Hiding Likes on Social Media Will Affect Business Pages, but to What Degree?

It’s no secret that for most, the appeal of social media is the gratification they receive from the reactions of others. But what if that factor was eliminated altogether? Recently, Facebook and Instagram introduced the idea of hiding likes on social media. This concept is currently being tested on Instagram among random sets of users—which expanded to the U.S. last week. Why hide our source of gratification? How will this impact social media as we know it? Let us weigh in.

What’s happening right now?

Facebook announced earlier this year that it could soon start hiding the “like counter” on news feed posts. This is the place where you see how many “likes” a post has earned. Users would still be able to see how many likes their own posts earned, but not how many likes other users’ posts earned. Earlier this year, Instagram was already testing it in seven countries including Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

Starting the week of Nov. 11, 2019, Instagram announced that it would be expanding the test to Instagram users in the United States. Instagram did not release information on how users would be selected for the test; however, these users should receive a notification about it at the top of their news feeds. (At the time this was written, no one in our office had been included in the test.)

Why though?

Social media is a source of information—a way to feel connected with the people, places and things in the world around us. Some people solely use it as that. For others, however, everything from once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings and newborns to the sandwiches they had for lunch and the cocktails they had for happy hour get shared on these public platforms.

One might argue that this sharing of life details serves simply to document and keep record of events (admittedly another legitimate use of the platform). Think about it–we are not too far off from a time when people will have Facebook timelines that feature 50-plus years of life content!

But on top of it being a source of information, and on top of it being a record keeper, social media plays another role: a source of peer affirmation and gratification. And where there is gratification, there is also room for disappointment.

According to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, hiding likes on social media could benefit users by making the experience “less of a competition.” Rather than spending their time worrying about how many likes (i.e. positive affirmation) they got on a post, they could spend more time “connecting with people or things that inspire [them],” Mosseri stated.

But here’s the kicker

Because social media users still get to see how many likes they got on their own posts, that gratification still exists. In other words, Facebook and Instagram wouldn’t be taking away the role that social media plays in terms of positive affirmation. Rather, they would be eliminating the pressure to compare oneself to others.

Let’s consider an example. If Jane Doe got 202 likes on her graduation post, and Suzie Q got just 21 on hers, she might compare herself to Jane and feel inadequate. She might even delete her post because she felt so inadequate. With those numbers taken out of the equation, each person can see that the other one got likes on her respective post, but not the exact number. It puts everyone on a level playing field.

Side note: If you haven’t watched Netflix’s Black Mirror episode, “Nosedive” starring Bryce Dallas Howard, it’s an interesting story on the direction that social media is heading in terms of peer affirmation.

Noting the potential negative effects on business pages

Sure, eliminating the impulse for people to have to attach their self-esteem to their personal social media posts sounds great. But here at McNutt & Partners, we’re in the business of, well, businesses. We thought about how this potential change could affect our clients’ business pages. Thus far, we haven’t seen anything to indicate that this new feature wouldn’t affect all users.

On the one hand, hiding likes on social media could negatively affect business pages based on the fact that businesses inherently thrive on competition. You see your competitor swimming in post likes. In theory, it gives you motivation to step up your game to match or exceed them. In addition, post engagement can be a good bargaining chip for smaller businesses wanting to appeal to larger distributors for their products.

It could also hurt social media collaborations and influencers. Brands looking for an influencer to promote their products currently scope out influencers whose posts get high engagement (in other words, high numbers of likes). Without the “like counter” present, brands would see that an influencer has post likes, but not how many. (Though it is our understanding that page likes would still be visible).

Our opinion

While social media likes do have the power to incite forward momentum for businesses, they are not directly correlated to a brand’s success.

The concept of buying likes, for example, has diminished the value of them. Having a high number of followers might look great on the surface, but what does it matter if they are not quality consumer leads? The success of a business comes down to dollars and cents. You may have hundreds of people liking a product post. However, if no one is buying the product, then ultimately your social media engagement is not affecting your business’ success.

Competition is what drives our free market economy, but unabashedly competing for post likes may not be what we need to focus our energies on. In fact, eliminating competition in terms of hiding likes on social media means brands would have to be judged on the quality of their products, not the number of likes they have on a product post.

If Instagram and Facebook want to experiment with hiding likes, we say bring it on. Time will tell how it works or doesn’t work, and while it could present some hiccups for businesses, we ultimately don’t think social media likes are the end-all be-all for entrepreneurial triumph.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Here Are 7 Things You Need to Know About Veterans Day

While many of us have our sights set on the Thanksgiving turkey or that big college football rivalry, there’s another special day in November that should not go overlooked. Born out of an acknowledgement of the end of one of history’s most significant wars, Veterans Day falls on Nov. 11 each year. Though our appreciation for our nation’s veterans should be a constant in our lives, today specifically people across the world will take time to gather and recognize our veterans’ incomparable contributions to preserving our way of life. Check out these things you need to know about Veterans Day—including a few statistics about veterans today.

Veterans Day is different from Memorial Day.

Americans tend to get these two holidays confused—thinking that perhaps the only difference is that one is in the summer and one is in the fall; however, it’s important to note the distinction. Veterans are people who served in any branch of the military in times of war or peace. Thus, Veterans Day serves to honor all of those—living or dead, though it is largely focused on thanking living veterans for their service. Memorial Day, on the other hand, exists to remember those military members who died serving our country.

The end of World War I inspired the date of the holiday.

Nov. 11, 1919 marked the first anniversary of the end of World War I. The “eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month” of 1918 signaled the end of the war, known as “Armistice Day.” The name was changed to “Veterans Day” in 1954 at the approval of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Other countries celebrate Veterans Day too.

The United States’ victory in World War I was dependent on help from the country’s allies, so it makes sense that other countries would want to celebrate their veterans as well. Countries like Great Britain, France, Australia and Canada also celebrate their World War I and II veterans in similar fashion on or around Nov. 11 each year. Australia, Canada and Great Britain call the holiday “Remembrance Day.”

The first Veterans Day parade was held in Birmingham.

Birmingham, Alabama hosted the nation’s first Veterans Day parade in 1947—but the location was not random. Birmingham native Raymond Weeks was a World War II veteran who led a delegation to Washington, D.C. to inspire Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (then the Army Chief of Staff) to create a national holiday honoring all veterans.

The parade is still an annual tradition in Birmingham to this day. Events leading up to the parade include a National Veterans Award Reception and Dinner on Nov. 10 and a Veterans Memorial Service before the parade on Nov. 11. Read more about the National Veterans Day Parade.

The veteran population is expected to decline over the next few decades.

The United States’ total veteran population is expected to decline from 20 million in 2017 to 13.6 million in 2037, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Minority veterans, on the other hand, are predicted to increase from 23.2 percent of the total veteran population to 32.8 percent over that same time period.

There are still millions to thank.

Despite the projected decline, there are still millions of veterans to thank this Veterans Day. As of October 2019, there were 18.2 million veterans in the United States. Nine percent of veterans are women.

Saying “thank you” is one of the most appropriate ways to honor our veterans.

“Happy Veterans Day” may be OK to some, but it is more appropriate to simply thank a veteran on Veterans Day. “Thank you for your service.” “Thank you for sacrificing so much.” “Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do” or a simple, “Thank you” will do. You can also thank your local veterans through actions instead of words, like attending Veterans Day celebrations or just by performing acts of kindness that will benefit them.

Summary

In reading these things you need to know about Veterans Day, think about how this information impacts not only the lives of you and your loved ones, but the welfare of our country. On behalf of the McNutt & Partners team, we genuinely thank you for your service.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Digital Storytelling: Comparing Social Media Story Platforms

Since the dawn of man, storytelling has been ingrained in us as human beings. From cave paintings to circles around the campfire, our venues for telling stories have varied through the millennia. It’s no surprise that today we are seeing a surge in storytelling in the digital realm—via social media story platforms.

For marketers, stories are a way to make sure that your content is seen beyond social media platforms’ restrictive algorithms. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are some of the current leaders bringing us a means to share our social media stories. But how do they all compare? Which story platform is most frequented by users?

Snapchat

Snapchat, a platform based on fleeting content, was the first among these three to introduce stories—in October 2013. Despite it being the first, Snapchat’s relatively small user base compared to Facebook and Instagram makes it the least preferred among the three, according to a survey by HubSpot. Only 13 percent of 275 U.S. consumers surveyed said they preferred to watch Snapchat stories over stories on Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to it falling last in line, Snapchat is also a fairly difficult platform for smaller businesses. In order to find your account, Snapchat users would have to know it existed and would have to search for you specifically (rather than the follow suggestions available on Facebook and Instagram).

Instagram

Among these main social media story platforms, Instagram was the second to bring stories to the table—and it has since been highly successful with the feature. Despite its success, Instagram still came in second in HubSpot’s survey of preferred social media story use. Seventeen percent of the survey sample said they preferred to watch stories on Instagram.

Though Gen Z wildly prefers Instagram over Facebook (often dubbing Facebook the “old people” platform), Instagram had just more than 500 million active users in 2019. That’s about a third the amount of active daily users on Facebook (we’ll get to that number in a minute).

But just because Instagram came in second in this small survey does not by any means mean that marketers should shun the idea of using it as a storytelling platform. Instagram’s stories allow for various interaction opportunities, such as questions, polls, stickers and more. Especially if you want your marketing to appeal to a younger demographic, Instagram stories can be a viable tool.

Facebook

If you’ve done the math, you already know that Facebook dominated the survey about users preferred social media story platforms. A whopping 70 percent said they preferred to use Facebook stories over Instagram or Snapchat. Keep in mind that the survey covered a wide range of demographics—so the results likely would have been different if it was targeted to a specific age group.

Let’s also keep in mind that Facebook had 1.59 billion active daily users in 2019. With Facebook being the world’s current overarching social giant, employing its stories feature in your marketing strategy surely couldn’t hurt. Facebook stories is the first thing that users see above their news feeds—which gives your content a better chance of being seen than via an organic post. Like Instagram, Facebook stories also allow offer the opportunity to promote user interaction in the form of polls, filters and beyond. (Remember, Facebook owns Instagram, so this makes sense).

Summary

If you haven’t yet experimented with social media story platforms, in your digital marketing, now is the time to start. Though popular among younger crowds, Snapchat may not be the first story platform you want to peruse—especially if you are a smaller business. If you have your Instagram and Facebook pages linked, it can be especially easy to post to both at the same time. If your target demographic is more mature, give Facebook stories a shot first.

Don’t want to deal with any of it? The McNutt & Partners team would be more than happy to help!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

Happy Halloween! McNutt & Partners’ All-Time Favorite Halloween Costumes

For some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For others, it’s just another day of the week. Whatever it is to you, Halloween is on its way, so we thought we’d take a break from our normal blog banter and get festive. Some of us reflect on beloved costumes from Halloween past, while others could barely remember a single costume in their Halloween histories. Either way, we had each person on our staff dig up a costumed memory! Read on for McNutt & Partners’ all-time Favorite Halloween costumes.

Crafty Kids Costume

Hanna: “My mom was very crafty, so she would never buy our costumes growing up. She would use things we already had at home—like our clothes, stuffed animals, paint, dad’s tools, etc. So one year, she dressed me as Little Bo Peep—complete with paper towel roll staff.”

Don’t Forget the Dog

Caitlin: “My favorite Halloween costume was last year’s. My husband Matt and I were characters from Twin Peaks (Nadine and Jacoby) and our dog Dale was his namesake character from Twin Peaks in an FBI Jacket. Also, a bunch of my friends surprised us at our Halloween party dressed as other Twin Peaks characters!”

Pasta-tively Festive

Katherine: “I’m the person that starts planning my next year’s costume before this year’s Halloween is even over. In recent memory, I’ve been sushi, the Mona Lisa, Bo Peep from Toy Story, the Chiquita banana lady and Miss Scarlet from Clue. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but there was one that I liked so much I repeated it from childhood to adulthood. When I was 8 or so, my mom saw this costume idea in a magazine. It was…wait for it…spaghetti. Yes, I was spaghetti for Halloween when I was 8. Red sweat suit (sauce), brown puffs (meatballs), yellow yarn and a colander hat (noodles). I brought this costume back when I was in college (see photo above), and this time I added the Parmesan purse.”

Maybe Billy Mays?

James: “I literally don’t remember any of them. I think I was Billy Mays once, but I wouldn’t have had any props—just the blue shirt and khakis. It was just after Billy’s death, a tribute to the greatest (and loudest) pitchman of modern times.”

Disney on Repeat

Emily: “My favorite Halloween costume was probably a costume my mom sewed for me. She’s pretty good at sewing and made me a Disney Cinderella dress when I was 7 or so. I liked it enough to wear it two Halloweens in a row, which was interesting because I was kind of a tomboy as a kid.”

A Three Hour Tour

Jon Van Wezel: “(My favorite was) Gilligan. Because I ran into one Skipper and two Gingers that year. They seemed happy to see me.”

Side note. When asked for a photo of his costume, Jon’s response was: “Mine was in the ‘90s. Great memories, no evidence.”

All Hipster’s Eve

Luke: “My favorite Halloween costume was a few years ago when I dressed up as a hipster. It was low-cost, comfortable and something I had never done before. Plus, it was nice to wear flannel and long pants with boots in the cold. I just took stuff from my own wardrobe, mixed and matched it and voila: I had a costume that required little effort to put together but ensured laughs and a good time all the same.”

Happy Halloween!

If reviewing McNutt & Partners’ all-time favorite Halloween costumes hasn’t got you in the spirit, well, go watch Hocus Pocus or something. Happy Halloween from the McNutt & Partners team!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

A Look at Facebook’s 3 New Interactive Ad Options

As technology advances, so does the way that marketers can opt to serve up advertisements to brand followers and potential leads.  Though traditional marketing forms still serve their respective roles, today it’s all about what can not only capture attention, but keep consumers engaged among the myriad of media that’s thrown at them on a daily basis. Along those lines, Facebook recently rolled out three new interactive ad options involving polls, games and augmented reality. Each of these will launch to a limited set of marketers this fall as it goes through the testing phase.

Polls Ads

The first among Facebook’s three new interactive ad options is all about giving consumers a choice. Instagram added a polls feature to its Stories earlier in 2019; however, now Facebook is adapting the concept further for its platform.

Advertisers can now add a poll to sponsored videos that appear on the mobile news feed. For example, if the video is showcasing a dress, the poll could ask consumers whether they like the dress better in red or blue. Marketers won’t see individual responses to the polls, but they will see how many of those who interacted selected each option.

Playable Ads

Instead of just giving consumers something to read, listen to or watch, give them something to do! That’s the idea behind the second of Facebook’s three new interactive ad options. Like polls, this one will be available in mobile-feeds only and not stories. With playable ads, marketers can:

  • Show off an app or game with a lead-in video on the News Feed.
  • Allow Facebook users to preview an app or game from the ad.
  • Offer a call-to-action to install the app from the ad.

Learn more about Facebook’s playable ads.

Augmented Reality Ads

Brands like Michael Kors got a head start on Facebook’s augmented reality ads option in 2018; however, this fall the feature will become available to even more marketers. Like polls and playable ads, the augmented reality ads serve to generate more engaging ad experiences for consumers. For example, rather than viewing a pair of Michael Kors sunglasses on a model, consumers can actually “try on” the glasses using the technology—to see what they will look like on their own faces.  Similarly, Sephora lets people “try on” various lipstick colors via the augmented reality ads.

Summary

With ecommerce becoming the norm, marketers should want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to patronize them at the exact point that they interact with their advertisements—which in this case, is online.  With Facebook’s three new interactive ad options, the social media leader is paving the way for this form of marketing to become not just an add-on to brand advertising, but an expectation of such.

8 Ways to Optimize Your Email Signature

The days of deciding between “Sincerely” or “Yours truly,” are over. In today’s digital environment, we have much more to consider when it comes to signing off on our correspondence. In a business setting, your email signature can make the difference between capturing a lead and letting one go. A well-designed email signature also paints you and your company in a more professional light in the eyes of your client base. From making it aesthetically pleasing to flawlessly functional, here are a few ways to optimize your email signature.

Tell people who you are.

This might sound obvious, but if you have nothing else in your email signature, you should at least have your name and title. People receiving your emails should have no trouble identifying you at the outset. Since you are representing your company, you’ll want to be sure to include your company name as well.

Make your contact info clear.

Your email signature should include all of the various ways that a recipient can contact you, including your phone number and business website. It may be redundant to include your email address (since if you’ve sent someone an email, he or she already has your address); however, some people opt to do so.

Link to social.

Efforts to optimize your email signature should include sharing your brand’s digital assets, like your social media accounts. This not only lets people know where online to find you, but it also gives them direct access to follow your pages. Don’t just list your social media accounts, however. Consider incorporating each social icon as a clickable link to that respective account.

Stay consistent with your branding.

If your brand colors are navy and gray, then you might want to avoid a bright purple and green (as cheerful as it may seem) in your email signature. Stay within the color scheme of your brand, and include your business’ logo. It’s just another chance for followers to make that visual connection with your company.

Employ an easy-to-read design.

Your email signature should be easily digestible. Anything too complex, and email recipients won’t take the time to consider its contents. Use design hierarchy to make this happen—emphasizing more important information in larger text higher up in the design. Then, gradually scale down the size of less important information. You want readers’ eyes to automatically go to what you want them to read first.

Make it mobile friendly.

You may be emailing all day long from your desktop, but don’t forget that many of your recipients are opening your emails from their mobile devices. Check to make sure that your email signature design reads well on both desktop and mobile. In addition, if you have your phone number listed, make sure it is clickable for recipients to be able to contact you directly from their smart phones.

Consider a photo.  

If you’re in an industry (like real estate or recruiting) where it’s important for your email recipients to connect names with faces, then you might consider including a photo in your signature. While not required to optimize your email signature, a photo is a little something extra that might help in the right situation.

Keep it simple.

Admittedly contradictory to adding “a little something extra,” you should also be sure to avoid information that is irrelevant or unnecessary. Favorite quotes at the end of email signatures, for example, can help show a little personality, but no one wants to read a novel. Some companies may require you to include legal language at the end of your signatures—in which case you should keep the rest of your design relatively simple.

Summary

In the hustle and bustle of a million things to do, your little email signature may not seem like high priority. However, just think about how many emails you send a day! When deciding how to optimize your email signature, think of each message you send as a mini-advertisement for your brand.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

 

Content Management: WordPress’ Effect on the Internet

When browsing websites, you may notice their distinct qualities—layout, user friendliness, use of photos, moving elements. However, for a significant chunk of websites out there, there’s one part that the average internet user doesn’t see that makes them have more in common than it may appear on the surface. We’re talking about the structure upon which these websites are built—their Content Management System (CMS). More specifically, we’re talking about the Content Management System, WordPress. WordPress’ effect on the internet as the dominant CMS on the web today is significant. Let’s explore more.

A little about WordPress

WordPress is one among many CMS’ out there (and keep in mind that not every site uses a CMS); however, it’s currently got the market share of 61.4 percent. That means that 34.6 percent of all websites online use WordPress! (Numbers current as of the date this article was written.) It’s also the CMS that we use here at McNutt & Partners.

WordPress is an open-source software, which means that it’s free for the public to download and use. All you have to pay for is a domain and WordPress hosting and voila! You’re good to build and run your website.

Since 2003 when WordPress was established, it has continued to grow in popularity as updates have been released. Consider this chart outlining the growth in WordPress (and competitors) from 2011 to today.

WordPress’ effect on the internet

The purpose of a CMS is to make it easier for people to build websites—and by “people,” we mean even those that were not classically trained in web development and design.

Think about it in terms of the old paint-by-numbers. Give most people a blank piece of paper and tell them to paint a detailed mountain landscape from scratch—what you get probably won’t be too pretty. However, give them a paint-by-numbers guideline, and anyone’s an artist. The same is true for a CMS like WordPress. It serves as a guiding hand in building and maintaining a website.

With WordPress having the dominance over the CMS market that it does, we can give it a significant amount of credit in allowing the internet to progress as it has—as an unconfined space for people to promote and share content.

A few fun facts about WordPress

Learn a little more about the most widely-used CMS on the internet! (Courtesy of Broadbandsearch.net)

WordPress is multi-lingual.

Full versions of WordPress are available in more than 60 languages. On top of that, content on WordPress accounts for more than 120 languages.

WordPress blogging is even more popular.

Many blogs alone use WordPress—so many that WordPress blogs get more than 409 million monthly views. In addition, a blogger writes a new WordPress post every six seconds.

Several of the world’s top websites use WordPress.

Global companies like Disney, Target, Playstation and many more use WordPress as their CMS. Other notables include TechCrunch, The New Yorker, Time, Inc. and more.

WordPress.org and WordPress.com are distinct.

WordPress.org is the free, open-source software that we have been walking about. WordPress.com was created by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg and offers one free version (with limited features) and four paid plans, ranging from personal to VIP. Read more about the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com.

WordPress plugins allow for customization.

Think of plugins as various tools that you can use alongside WordPress. For example, we use the Yoast plugin for our client sites to help with SEO. Plugins can help with analytics, design, security and more. There are currently more than 55,000 plugins available for WordPress!

The WordPress team is made up of volunteers.

The cool thing about WordPress’ effect on the internet is that its major impact is thanks to a (relatively small) team of volunteers. In fact, fewer than 1,000 people are currently working on WordPress. Compare that to Amazon’s half a million employees!

Summary

WordPress’ effect on the internet is undeniable. As a free and open-source CMS, it’s opened up a world of possibilities for everyone from the internet novice to the skilled developer.

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.