Our Blog

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.

8 Quick Tips for Writing Google Ads Copy

If you want to ensure that your website has a better chance of displaying in the top spot of a Google search, Google’s text ads, also known as pay-per-click ads, are one great way to do it. In short, these are the results that show up as “sponsored” at the top of a list of search results. With limited character counts, your messaging in the top spotlight and only seconds to grab attention, there is certainly an art to writing Google Ads copy.

Here, we’ll breeze through a couple of quick tips to help you get started.

Follow the format.

Google text ad includes headlines, a URL and descriptions. Headlines are limited to 30 characters each, and descriptions are limited to 90 characters each. In a standard Google text ad, you are allowed two headlines and one description. There are also expanded text ads, which offers up to three headlines and two descriptions.

Identify keywords.

When writing Google Ads copy, it’s critical that you include at least one keyword (aka, key phrase) that is relevant to what people are typing into the search box. For example, if you are advertising “chiropractic care in East Alabama,” then that key phrase should be included in your text ad. This is a phrase that people might naturally type into a search engine in order to prompt your ad to populate.

Be direct.

Google text ads are no place for flowery language or excessive words, especially since you are limited by character counts. It’s best to get directly to the point with what you are offering. Be clear in your messaging and leave no room for confusion. The second people have to try to understand what you’re selling is the second they skip over your ad.

Link to a landing page.

As we said earlier, a Google text ad includes a URL that will lead consumers to a place where they can take action or learn more information about your offers. Rather than sending everyone to your website’s home page, it is best practice to link to a specific landing page for the offer or service you are promoting in that particular ad. If you send someone to your home page, and they can’t immediately find what attracted them to the ad, they will likely stop their pursuit there.

Anticipate the consumer’s end goal.

Think ahead to what the customer ultimately wants. After all, she or he came to the search engine for a reason. Going back to our chiropractic example, using a headline like “Get Help With Back Pain” can be more effective than asking a question, “Are You In Pain?” Theoretically, if a person searched the key phrase “help with back pain,” then it’s already assumed that he or she is in pain—so no need to waste space on the question.

Think mobile-friendly.

The majority people browsing search engines are doing so from mobile devices. Check all your boxes to make sure your Google text ad is mobile-friendly. This includes using location and call extensions so that people can access your assets directly from their devices and making sure the URL you link to is optimized for mobile.

Always include a call to action.

It’s the Golden Rule of most all advertising initiatives, and it applies here as well! Whether it’s “Sign Up,” “Schedule Your Appointment,” “Learn More,” or “Buy Now,” give web users a clear call to action when writing Google Ads copy.

Give them a compelling reason to click.

Otherwise known as a “hook,” present ad viewers with an offer they can’t refuse. Acknowledge what consumers want and tell them how they can get it. Think promos, discounts, limited-time opportunities, offers ending soon. This sense of pledged gratification and urgency should give people a reason to click on your ad.

Summary

Google’s text ads are a way you can essentially pay for higher rankings in a Google search based on specified keywords. It’s a more effective way to get seen in search results than relying on organic means, especially if your brand is in its infancy. Using these standards for writing Google Ads copy can make the difference between an ad that appears professional and one that is disregarded as junk.

Need 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 New Year: 20 Marketing Goals for 2020

It’s all in the name. The new year is a time for a new perspective on things. Not only did we just start a new year, but we just started a new decade! That means double the excitement for a fresh start. Keep in mind, a fresh start in marketing isn’t about wiping out everything you’re doing currently (especially if it’s working for you). It’s about assessing what you have going on—and making tweaks where necessary. Need some inspiration? Check out these 20 marketing goals for 2020.

Take inventory.

Make it a point at the beginning of the year to take inventory of your current marketing efforts. What are you currently putting effort toward and/or spending money on? You should also take inventory of your digital assets. In other words, make a list of all of your company’s social media pages, websites, email addresses, etc.

Make sure your info is current and accurate.

The start of the year is also a good time to make sure all of the information out there about your brand is current and accurate. Are your hours of operation listed correctly? Are your services up to date? People hold you to what’s on your website, so make sure it’s factual.

Reassess the strategies that are no longer working for you.

Out with the old, as they say! If you are spending time, effort and money on a marketing tactic that is no longer working for you, it may be time to reconsider.

Make small changes.

Rather than completely shed your current strategies that you think could be more effective, try retooling them in a new way. Maybe you need to tweak your messaging, your graphics, your targeted audience—little changes can help!

Clean up your digital assets.

Web pages that lead nowhere, social accounts still boasting holiday décor, portfolios that haven’t been touched in a year—it’s time for some updating! Among our 20 marketing goals for 2020 is to clean up your defunct and out of date digital assets.

Stick to a social media schedule.

If creating a monthly or weekly schedule for your social media efforts has never really been your thing, try it out in 2020! It can not only help you anticipate events and sales opportunities coming up on the calendar, but it can help you to maintain a consistent posting schedule.

Focus on brand consistency.

The public-facing appearance of your brand should be consistent in order to help strengthen brand recognition and loyalty in the eyes of your followers. If you’re using two different versions of a logo, for example, ditch one and use the same one across the board.

Strengthen communication with your brand followers.

Set a 2020 goal to strengthen the lines of communication between you and your current and potential customers. There are a variety of ways you can do this: monthly or weekly email updates, posting more to social media, being better about responding to messages, etc.

Strengthen communication with your agency.

If you work with an agency like McNutt & Partners, another great goal for 2020 is to strengthen communication with members of the agency’s team. Remember, they are there to help you! We would be happy to schedule a standing monthly call, or even just a regular email check-in.

Increase the value you are providing your followers.

What can you do to offer more value to your brand followers? In 2020, making small improvements can lead to big results. Start a blog with tips and tricks, host a weekly Q and A session, or even send a special discount to your loyal customers.

Lock in a new look.

What’s your brand looking like in the New Year? If it’s time for an image refresh, now is a good time to do it. Updating things like your logo, profile pictures, web slider images, etc. can help provide a fresh feel to your overall image.

Focus on brand reputation.

Having people talking positively about your brand in today’s digital landscape is more important now than ever. Make an effort to collect online reviews from your customers in 2020. You can do this via print materials, email follow-ups or even just by asking them directly!

Contribute more to your community.

How active are you in your community? This may be the year for you to get more involved. Being active can range from sponsoring a local sports team or town event to contributing to your respective industry knowledge by hosting webinars or posting to an industry blog.

Engage more with your social media followers.

The success of social media is all about engagement! Invest in efforts to reply to every comment and answer every message you get on social media.

Post more video.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Video is king in today’s digital landscape! Posts with video get significantly higher engagement than those without.

Expose the personal side of your brand.

Posts that expose the personal side of your brand also yield higher engagement. This includes employee spotlights, “About Us” features or even just posting about what your staff is doing around the office that day.

Educate yourself.

Take time to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in your industry. Follow relevant blogs, attend conferences, sign up for webinars, or even just flip through a copy of your respective trade magazine when you have time.

Make security a priority.

With the entire world being online, your risk for your assets falling into the wrong hands is higher. To add to our 20 marketing goals for 2020, heighten your digital security in terms of password protection, web security and beyond.

Measure your success.

Analytics allow us to assess the hard numbers when it comes to measuring whether or not a strategy is effective. Pay attention to these numbers to get a better feel for where you are making a dent.

Open yourself to new ideas.

It’s easy to get stuck in your ways. In the new decade, however, open yourself up to new marketing ideas! You never know what trying something new could do for your business.

Summary

Even if you just tackle a handful of these 20 marketing goals for 2020, that’s progress in our book! Here’s to achieving great successes in the New Year!

Need 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.

McNutt & Partners’ Top 10 Blogs of 2019

Everyone loves a good recap at the end of the year! From ever-evolving social media algorithms to establishing a new work home for our team, 2019 is a good one to reflect on. Check out McNutt & Partners’ Top 10 Blogs of 2019.

The Story Behind Social Media Stories,” Jan. 6, 2019

Social media stories became a big hit in 2019! Social media stories are their own animal, but they are one that marketers should be paying increasing attention to. Read the blog.

10 Digital Marketing Misconceptions to Shed This Spring,” March 18, 2019

With everyone being on the internet, everyone has an opinion as to how to use it to its full potential. In an “everybody’s an expert” environment, it can be difficult to sift through the fiction to get the facts—but we’re here to help. Read the blog.

Hootsuite vs. ContentCal: Social Media Management Tools Compared,” April 29, 2019

As social media has become a main means of marketing to the masses, social media management tools have been born as a result. Here’s a quick comparison of two that we use. Read the blog.

 “Digital Dollars: Digital Ad Revenues Soar to Record-Breaking Highs,” May 13, 2019

In the marketing space, digital ad revenues reached record-breaking highs in FY 2018. However, some experts point out that threats to that success do exist. Read the blog.

Comparing Facebook Boosting vs. Facebook’s Ads Manager,” July 8, 2019

We get the question a lot: what is the difference between Facebook boosting and Facebook’s ads manager? Time to clear up the confusion. Read the blog.

Online Linguistics: Exploring the Origins of Internet Slang,” July 29, 2019

Since the internet became a dominant form of communication, it has exposed humans to a whole new world of online lingo. Internet slang shines in today’s linguistic spotlight. Read the blog.

The Actual Influence of Online Reviews on SEO,” Aug. 5, 2019

Nothing beats word-of-mouth when it comes to generating business leads. In the digital climate, word-of-mouth translates to online reviews. The influence of online reviews on SEO is one that you’ll want to pay attention to—and here’s why. Read the blog.

We’ve Moved! Meet Us at McNutt & Partners’ New Location,” Sept. 2, 2019

One big piece of company news for us in 2019—we moved to a new office! Our new location not only gives us room to grow, but space to better serve our clients both local and beyond. Read the blog.

Our Opinion: Hiding Likes on Social Media Will Affect Business Pages, but to What Degree?” Nov. 28, 2019

Recently, Facebook and Instagram introduced the idea of hiding likes on social media. The concept is currently being tested, but how will this impact social media as we know it? Let us weigh in. Read the blog.

The Evolution of Email Etiquette: How We Interpret Emails in 2020,” Dec. 2, 2019

As with any technology, the way we use email has evolved as we have become more and more comfortable using it. Being that it is one of the primary ways we now talk to one another, email etiquette is a concept that should be acknowledged. Read the blog.

Happy New Year!

McNutt & Partners Top 10 Blogs of 2019 offer a rounded review of the year we’ve had. Whether you’ve followed along with us throughout 2019 or you’re just jumping on board, we want to thank you for being here as we share our marketing two cents each week. Go forth and conquer in 2020!

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.

Poll: McNutt & Partners’ Holiday Opinions

Welcome to Christmas week! As we wrap, bake, travel and repeat, we thought we’d have a little fun along the way with a holiday poll. Eggnog vs. hot chocolate? Are Santa presents still a thing? Should Christmas inflatables be banned for life? The team answered these questions and more, and we’re breaking down the results here! Get some insight into McNutt & Partners’ holiday opinions—and then take the poll for yourself!

Would you rather shop in-store or online?

In-store: 57%

Online: 43%

White lights or multi-colored for decorating?

White lights: 71%

Multi-colored: 29%

Does your family still do “Santa” presents?

Yes: 57%

No: 43%

How do you feel about yard inflatables?

They are the best! 29%

They are tacky and take up too much space. 71%

What are yard inflatables? 0%

Would you rather receive a gift card or a gift?

Gift card: 14%

Gift: 86%

Christmas music—love it or hate it?

Love it! 29%

Hate it. 0%

It’s OK. 71%

Eggnog or hot chocolate?

Eggnog: 43%

Hot chocolate: 57%

Live tree or fake tree?

Live tree: 57%

Fake tree: 43%

No tree: 0%

When do you open presents?

Christmas Eve: 12%

Christmas morning: 75%

Other: 12%

We don’t open presents. 0%

Have you ever actually eaten a fruitcake?

Yes: 71%

No: 29%

Note: This isn’t really an opinion, but just out of sheer curiosity.

Take the poll!

Now that you know McNutt & Partners’ holiday opinions, it’s time for you to take the poll yourself!

Merry Christmas

Embracing the holiday season means recognizing and appreciating the positives in your life. We are grateful to have a hard-working, talented team that has a true passion for helping our supportive clients succeed. Though we may not all agree on Christmas music and when to open presents, it is our assorted personalities and areas of expertise that help us all do great things!

Merry Christmas 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.

10 Ways to Show Customer Appreciation During the Holiday Season

We’re fully immersed in the holiday hubbub and everything that comes along with it. Prepping your recipe list for yuletide gatherings. Deciding whether your best ugly Christmas sweater is worth repeating at this year’s office party. Shopping for family members who may or may not like what you got them. Sounds fun, right? Keep in mind that we do it for a reason, and whatever the “reason for the season” is for you, most will agree that it involves showing compassion for your fellow human beings. This includes your customers! Customer appreciation during the holiday season is a way for you to strengthen your connection with your brand followers—and score some karma points in general.

Face it—your business wouldn’t exist without your customers. Use the generous spirit of the holidays to show them how much they mean to you! Here are a few easy ways to do it.

Send handwritten cards.

The art of handwritten correspondence is fading as text messaging and the like have taken over. That makes it all the more special when you do receive a handwritten card or note! Buy a pack of cards at the store (or have us design your own custom cards). Then, have each member of your staff sign them. The handwritten touch will make your clients’ days.

Be inclusive.

Though Christmas is the most widely-recognized of the holidays, we do say “Happy Holidays” for a reason. If you have customers who you specifically know celebrate other winter holidays like Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, they will likely appreciate your acknowledgement of those.

Send an email blast or electronic cards.

Handwritten has its place, but if time constraints have you then it’s perfectly fine to digitally show customer appreciation during the holiday season. We can help you design an e-card and/or email blast to send out to your client list.

Offer discounts and deals.

You don’t have to wait until after the holidays to show your customers some love via sales. You can hold a “Customer Appreciation Holiday Sale” for your entire client base or even just a select few of your loyal brand followers to receive a discount code via email, for example. You could also offer a weekly coupon or discount and change it up throughout the season.

Give away freebies.

Take it a step further and offer some free stuff! Maybe there’s a small item you can give away with each purchase that will not cost you much—and that will help your customers feel that they are appreciated.

Offer refreshments while shopping.

If your business involves a brick-and-mortar location, set up a table with some sweets and coffee at the front of your store or office. This small act of kindness will register big on your fans’ radars!

Deliver goodies.

Do you operate out of your home or travel to visit your clients? The idea is the same. Drop some baked goods off in their mailboxes or on their front porches. It will be a nice surprise for them to come home to!

Host a holiday open house.

Let’s party! Host a holiday open house to show customer appreciation during the holiday season. This concept rolls several of the above ideas into one. Have the event either during your regular store hours or after hours. Offer drinks/snacks, discounts, raffles, etc.! This can be a great way to interact with your customers in a fun setting.

Make a social post.                                      

Give your appreciated people a shout out on social media! A simple, “Thank you for your support over the past year” will let customers know that you value the role they play in helping to bolster your business.

Thank them in person.

The best way to let customers know you care? Tell them! Communicate your appreciation face-to-face if you have the opportunity to see your clients this holiday season.

Summary

The holidays are almost a wrap! (See what we did there?) Don’t miss your opportunity to show customer appreciation during the holiday season. While we’re at it, we want to send a message to all of our clients, blog readers and brand followers: We appreciate you!

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.

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.