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.

The Story Behind Social Media Stories

Trying to keep up with the latest social media lingo? One word that you may have heard floating around recently is “stories.” Social media stories are their own animal, but they are one that marketers should be paying increasing attention to, as they are poised to become a significant marketing trend in 2019.

What are social media stories?

First, let’s break down what a social media story actually is. Just like a story you would read in a book or watch in a movie, a social media story reveals a progression of events in the form of posts—either still photos or videos. When you make a post to your social media story, that post stays a part of your story for 24 hours from the time it was posted—and then it disappears (though Instagram allows you to archive and highlight expired stories). Social media users can view your story at any given time that there is content available on it with the ability to click through from one post to another in the progression of the time they were posted.

Where did social media stories start, and where do they exist currently?

Social media giant Snapchat pioneered social media stories in October of 2013. Facebook-owned Instagram followed in August 2016, and then Facebook itself rolled out the story format in March of 2017. In between, another Facebook entity, WhatsApp, revealed stories on its platform in February 2017.

Though Snapchat was the founder of stories on social media, other platforms have seen use of them skyrocket past that of Snapchat since launching their own versions. In the third quarter of 2017, Snapchat stories has 178 million worldwide daily active users, compared to 300 million for both Instagram and WhatsApp during that same time period.

Why are social media stories important for marketers?

Stories are growing 15 times faster than news feeds, according to Fast Company. The rise of social media stories as compared to the traditional news feed changes the way content is disseminated within the social media landscape. Rather than an algorithm-dominated news feed, in which content may or may not appear in the order it was posted, stories show off your content consecutively grouped together all in one place. Also, the fact that story content is fleeting suggests to viewers that this content is rarer and that maybe it should be consumed more quickly.

Stories are also significant because they allow brands to post a theoretical unlimited number of times without saturating potential consumers. This is not to say you should post a story with 50 images or videos in one day, but the point is, brands can post more on stories because social media users opt to look at them. They make the decision as to when to look and stop looking This power of choice bestowed to the user via stories contrasts brand posts on their news feeds—too many of which most users find plain annoying.

How should brands approach marketing differently using stories?

Stories present both opportunities and challenges for brands using them as a marketing tool. Stories are easy to use, but that does not mean your brand should go completely crazy posting every little moment of its day.

Instead, think about constructing a thought-out narrative rather than simply throwing out calls to action. In that sense, creativity is key. Invite your audience to participate in an activity, whether it is learning how a product works, seeing a new product in action or even simply meeting one of your team members. Next week, we will go into more detail on how to use stories to benefit your brand.

Want to make stories a part of your marketing effort in 2019? The McNutt & Partners team can 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 2018

From altered Facebook algorithms affecting the current state of digital marketing to examining the evolution of the hashtag, 2018 has been a busy blog year for McNutt & Partners. This New Year’s Eve, we’re taking a look back into the archives at McNutt & Partners’ top 10 blogs of 2018.

  • “What Facebook’s Algorithm Change Means for Marketing,” February 5, 2018. The social media giant recently announced that it would be tweaking its algorithm to promote “meaningful, social interactions” for its users. What does that mean exactly? Read more.
  • “The ROI of Email Marketing,” February 26, 2018. Email is still a powerful device to store in your digital marketing toolbox. Read more.
  • “Lorem Ipsum: What Is It, and Where Did it Come From?” March 19, 2018. If you’ve ever looked at a website theme, a stock graphic, a pre-made page layout, etc., you’ve probably seen lorem ipsum. Read more.
  • “7 Qualities of a Well-Designed Logo,” April 16, 2018. Whether you are designing your own logo or hiring an agency to do it, there are certain qualities of a well-designed logo that you should always pay attention to. Read more.
  • “How Your Business Can Benefit from Having Its Own App,” June 18, 2018. Whereas apps were once reserved for larger-scale organizations, the market for branded apps has since opened up to a range of business models—from the individual entrepreneur to the mom and pop operation and beyond. Read more.
  • “The Basics Behind Facebook Boosting,” July 30, 2018. Posting quality content on a regular basis to Facebook is one thing, but there’s a way to push that content a step farther in terms of who sees it, and that’s’ through boosting. Read more.
  • “Not All Social Media Platforms Are Right for Your Business, and That’s OK,” September 10, 2018. The fact is, depending on the type of business you are marketing, certain social platforms simply may not make sense for your brand. Read more.
  • “6 Ways Hashtags Have Changed Our Culture,” October 8, 2018. Eleven years ago, the same symbol that represents “pound” on a telephone opened up an entire new world of connectivity when it became the social media hashtag. Read more.
  • “Why We’re Thankful for Life in Auburn, Alabama,” November 19, 2018. Though at McNutt & Partners our clients and employees are pretty spread out geographically, our home base is Auburn, Alabama. Read more.
  • “McNutt & Partners’ 12 Digital Marketing Days of Christmas,” December 10, 2018. You’ve heard about the four calling birds and the partridge in a pear tree, but this is another story. Read more.

Whether you’re a regular blog reader or you’ve come here for the first time, thanks for checking out McNutt & Partners’ top 10 blogs of 2018—and for supporting our brand over the past year. We look forward to helping our clients in big ways in 2019! Happy New Year!

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.

 

Merry Christmas: McNutt & Partners’ Staff Favorite Holiday Movies

Merry Christmas Eve! Along with the shopping, sweets-baking and (sometimes) snowing, another phenomenon that goes hand-in-hand with the holiday season is watching festive movies. Last week, we showcased the 10-most Googled holiday movies of all time. This week with Christmas on the horizon, we’re getting a bit more personal. Introducing McNutt & Partners’ staff favorite holiday movies, in order of the year they debuted!

  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
    • Picked by: Sean Parker and Jon Van Wezel
    • What it’s about: George Bailey has issues—so many that he’s thinking about ending it all right during the Christmas season. His guardian angel, Clarence, intervenes and shows George what life would be like for his friends and loved ones if he had never existed.
  • White Christmas (1954)
    • Picked by: Luke Richey
    • What it’s about: A singing and dancing male duo teams up with a singing and dancing female duo to perform at an inn in rural Vermont. The four run into a general who commanded the men during World War II and end up helping him in a quest to save the failing inn.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
    • Picked by: John McNutt
    • What it’s about: A green, mean, nearly-heartless being is fed up with Christmas cheer and vows to ruin it for all in the neighboring town of Whoville. One little Who, however, may just have the charm to turn The Grinch’s too-small heart into one full of holiday happiness.
  • Die Hard (1988)
    • Picked by: James Joyce and Nicholas Smith
    • What it’s about: An ongoing debate in the film world argues whether or not the 1988-hit film Die Hard should actually be in the Christmas movie category. Regardless, the movie is about a New York City policeman who attends holiday party with his family. During the party, a group of terrorists takes over—and the policeman takes matters into his own hands.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
    • Picked by: Mollie Parker
    • What it’s about: Clark Griswold is looking forward to a festive Christmas with his family, but annoying relatives, faulty decorations and a stingy boss make the holiday full of chaos rather than cheer.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
    • Picked by: Katherine Haas
    • What it’s about: The sequel to the classic 1990 film Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, puts a different spin on the kid-left-home-alone-during-the-holidays plot line. This time, now 10-year-old Kevin McCallister accidentally ends up in New York City while his family travels to Miami.
  • The Santa Clause (1994)
    • Picked by: Chanah Fallin
    • What it’s about: A divorced dad spending Christmas Eve with his son accidentally causes a man in a Santa suit to fall off of his roof. It turns out that in doing so, dad unknowingly signed up for a holly jolly job that he may or may not have the qualifications for.
  • While You Were Sleeping (1995)
    • Picked by: Emily Chapman
    • What it’s about: Set during a snowy Christmas in Chicago, a woman pulls her longtime crush from certain death via an oncoming train, though he still ends up in the hospital in a coma. Misspeaking at the hospital leads family members to think she is actually his fiancée—and she doesn’t correct them.
  • Elf (2003)
    • Picked by: Caitlin Parker
    • What it’s about: Buddy grew up with elves at the North Pole, but he’s actually human. Realizing at an older age that he doesn’t fit in, he heads to New York City in search of his true identity.

What a list! Use our McNutt & Partners’ staff favorite holiday movies in making your Christmas cinema decisions this Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas!

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 10 Most-Googled Christmas Movies of All Time

Wrapping presents and baking sugar cookies—step aside. Watching holiday movies is a staple activity of the Christmas season—and with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, binge-watching these Yuletide flicks is more accessible than ever. As Google is a measure of many things in our modern world, it’s also revealing of some of the most popular holiday movies out there. Grab your egg nog and get cozy for this list of the 10 most-Googled Christmas movies of all time.

10) A Charlie Brown Christmas, (1965): Bringing up the rear of the 10 most-Googled Christmas movies of all time is this animated classic featuring Charlie Brown’s modest one-ornament Christmas tree. Between video sales and the television special, this 30-minute film has garnered more than $1.7 million.

9) White Christmas, (1954): This 1950s-era Christmas movie starring Bing Crosby tells the story of a song-and-dance team who meet a pair of beautiful sisters, also talented in the area of musical performance. The four team up to save a Vermont inn from failure in this musical romantic comedy.

8) Love Actually, (2003): Set in London in the weeks before Christmas, this holiday favorite intertwines the lives of eight distinct couples dealing with various life challenges. Top-billed stars include Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Kiera Knightly, Laura Linney and more.

7) Home Alone, (1990): If you grew up in the ‘90s, Home Alone was most certainly on your watch list. Garnering $285.7 million at the box office, the film held the record for domestic theatrical gross earned by a family comedy for 27 years. Filled with holiday hijinks, Home Alone tells the story of 8-year-old Kevin McCallister’s plan to fight off a pair of dimwitted burglars after Kevin is left “home alone” during the Christmas holiday.

6) Elf, (2003): Another on our list of most-Googled Christmas movies from the year 2003, Elf has since become a holiday movie tradition for many. Will Ferrell’s distinctive persona makes the movie, as he plays a human raised by elves who ventures from his North Pole home to find his true identity in New York City.

5) The Nightmare Before Christmas, (1993): Throw a bit of spooky into the holiday mix with this Halloween-Christmas hybrid. In this animated flick directed by Tim Burton, Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween town, introduces Christmas to his constituents—only to cause much confusion.

4) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, (1989): Make room for the Griswold’s on your home theater this December. Expect obnoxious family guests, holiday decorating disasters and more. This Christmas comedy has generated more than $71 million to date.

3) The Polar Express, (2004): Based on the popular children’s book bearing the same name, this animated film tells the story of a young boy who boards the train, The Polar Express, on Christmas Eve and the adventures he encounters along the way.

2) How the Grinch Stole Christmas, (2000): It’s not surprising that How the Grinch Stole Christmas secured the No. 2 spot on the list of the 10 most-Googled Christmas movies, as the tale dates back to Dr. Seuss’ 1957 book of the same name followed by the 1966 cartoon version. The Grinch teaches us selflessness and sharing alongside Jim Carrey’s antics as one of the most love-to-hate characters of all time.

1) A Christmas Story, (1983): Did you guess it? The No. 1 most-Googled Christmas movie of all time is so beloved, that TBS plays it for 24 hours straight between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, giving fans ample opportunity to soak it all in. The premise, in case you have been living under a rock and haven’t seen it, involves Ralphie, a boy dead-set on convincing his parents to gift him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

And there you have it—the most-Googled Christmas movies of all time. Start putting together your holiday movie marathon list—and make sure to add any of these favorites that you haven’t seen—or that you just can’t get enough of!

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’ 12 Digital Marketing Days of Christmas

We know what you’re thinking. It’s December 10, and that means there are 15 days left until Christmas—not 12. However, we’ve all got Christmas carols playing on repeat in stores, on our radios and in our heads—including the classic “The 12 Days of Christmas.” You’ve heard about the four calling birds and the partridge in a pear tree, but this is another story! Introducing McNutt & Partners’ 12 Digital Marketing Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, a memorable brand identity!

On the second day of Christmas my agency gave to me, two websites and a memorable brand identity!

On the third day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my agency gave to me—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, six writers blogging—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, seven videos streaming, six writers blogging—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, eight apps downloading, seven videos streaming, six writers blogging—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, nine graphics posting, eight apps downloading, seven videos streaming, six writers blogging—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, ten ads printing, nine graphics posting, eight apps downloading, seven videos streaming, six writers blogging—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, eleven emails blasting, ten ads printing, nine graphics posting, eight apps downloading, seven videos streaming, six writers blogging—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my agency gave to me, twelve sliders sliding, eleven emails blasting, ten ads printing, nine graphics posting, eight apps downloading, seven videos streaming, six writers blogging—five customer leads! Four billboards, three logos, two websites and a memorable brand identity.

And there you have it—the song you never knew you needed in your life! Besides our love of parody, McNutt & Partners’ 12 Digital Marketing Days of Christmas illustrates just how much we can do for your business in the New Year. Give us a call today at 334-521-1010 or fill out our contact form to learn more.

Trending: Social Media Accounts for Pets

Social media is a life staple for the majority of members of modern society. It’s not unusual to wake up and immediately check Facebook or Instagram and do so again right before bed, not to mention the countless times it is checked throughout the day—proving that it’s become part of our everyday routines. Another part of many of our everyday routines? Our pets! Put one and two together, and voilà—social media accounts for pets have become a thing.

Putting numerous pictures of your pooch or feline on social media is one thing, but making accounts for them, as them, takes it to another level. Creating social media accounts for pets certainly gives them a presence outside of your home or backyard—but why do people do it? And if you want to do it, how should you go about it? Read on.

Why do people do it?

People love animals—period. That being said, people also love sharing about their animals on social media. In fact, according to iheartdogs.com, about 65 percent of pet owners post about their animal companions on social media an average of two times per week, with 16 percent posting more than four times per week.

Some pet owners get to the point of realizing, “Hey, I’ve posted SO many pictures of Fido/Fluffy on my social media page. Maybe he/she should have one of his/her own!” Put simply, it’s just another way to organize how social media users share about their four-legged family members.

While some do it for fun, however, others do it for fame. Social media accounts for pets have transformed some ordinary companions into full-on celebrities, yielding their owners millions of not just followers, but dollars, in the process.

Take “Jiff,” the Pomeranian who has the most social followers of any other animal in the world at 24 million across all his pages, including 8.9 million on Instagram. He set the Guinness World Record for most Instagram followers by any animal at 7 million in 2017. Others you might recognize include “Grumpy Cat” at 2.4 million Instagram followers, “Doug the Pug” at 3.6 million followers and “Maru,” the Shiba Inu that always wears a smile, at 2.5 million on Instagram.

How much money have these famous pets made for their owners? In 2016, JiffPom was bringing in an estimated $17,500 per post, according to GoBankingRates. In 2014, several news outlets reported that the owner of Grumpy Cat, Tabatha Bundesen, earned $100 million in the first two years of her feline’s fame. Though Bundesen denied that claim, she has not revealed the actual number.

How should I start a social account for my pet?

Wanting to make millions off of those puppy-dog eyes? Or maybe you just want to keep your pet’s fame limited to your inner circle. It’s really as easy as creating a new account, using your pet’s name and uploading his or her cutest profile picture. But to run successful social media accounts for pets, here are a few pointers.

  • Start by inviting friends and family. You know your friends and family will be the first to feel thrilled about following your furry family member. Start your following by inviting them to like the page. Once you get a good start with people you know, then you can branch out into the big leagues by asking them to share with their friends, and their friends, and so on.
  • Talk like a pet. Point of view is everything when cultivating successful social media accounts for pets. If it is truly to appear as your pet’s page, then your messaging should be in “first person” from the pet’s perspective. For example, rather than, “This is my pet, Max,” use, “This is my human, Bob” on the pet’s page when showing a picture of the two of you.
  • Think like a pet. Along similar lines, put yourself in your pet’s head. What is he or she thinking when you go for a walk? When you leave for work all day? When you give him or her a treat or new toy? Use the answers to those and comparable questions to fuel your pet page content.
  • Be relevant. As you would on your business page or personal page, connect your pet to relevant, timely topics. For example, during the holiday season, post about holiday happenings from a canine or feline point of view.
  • Interact with your followers. This one’s a given for any type of page you are maintaining. You can’t expect people to want to engage with you if you don’t interact with them back! Think about the dog park—people love to pet your pooch and ask you questions about him/her. You wouldn’t ignore inquirers there, so don’t do it on social media either!

Social media accounts for pets can just be for fun, or they can potentially make your four-legged family member Jiff-level famous. How far you try to take it is up to you!

Not interested in maintaining your business’ social accounts—let alone one for your pets? The McNutt & Partners team can 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.

 

The Internet’s Sales Holiday: Cyber Monday 2018 Stats and More

Long lines, stampeding shoppers and huge hauls are a few common associations with the Friday after Thanksgiving—the busiest shopping day of the year for retailers, otherwise known as Black Friday. Though leaving the house at midnight to be among the first to steal some holiday deals can be exciting, so is staying in your pajamas with a cup of coffee and scoring sales from the comfort of your own couch—made possible by a phenomenon called Cyber Monday. Curious to know more about the internet’s sales holiday? Check out these Cyber Monday stats and facts.

What is Cyber Monday?

Now more than a decade old, Cyber Monday was created in response to Black Friday as online shopping became a staple for the holiday season. The National Retail Federation (NRF) coined the term Cyber Monday in 2005 as online sales in the days (and specifically Monday) after Thanksgiving were increasing exponentially. According to the NRF, online retailers were wanting in on the action that brick-and-mortar stores attracted via Black Friday; thus, Cyber Monday was born.

Here’s a closer look at some highlights of Cyber Monday history:

  • 2005: The National Retail Federation sends out its initial press release announcing Cyber Monday.
  • 2007: The Great Recession hits, but Cyber Monday prevails, continuing upward sales from 2007 ($730 million) to 2008 ($836 million).
  • 2008: Amazon becomes the No. 1 retail site for Cyber Monday, beating out Walmart.
  • 2010: Major retailers like Toys “R” Us, Sears and Kmart extend Cyber Monday to “Cyber Week,” offering deals throughout the week after Thanksgiving.
  • 2010: Cyber Monday spending hits $1 billion for the first time.
  • 2013-2015: Site-wide discounts become popular, as retailers like Target, Old Navy, ASOS and more offer anywhere from 15 to 50 percent off site-wide.
  • 2017: Cyber Monday sales hit $6.59 billion with that number poised to increase in 2018.

Chew on these Cyber Monday stats

  • Cyber Monday sales have grown from $484 million in 2005 to a record $6.59 billion in 2017 (Forbes)—making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history to date.
  • Mobile sales on Cyber Monday 2017 hit $2 billion in a 24-hour period for the first time (CNBC).
  • Mobile Cyber Monday shopping set a new record in 2017, representing 4 percent of visits and 33.1 percent of revenue (Forbes).
  • Eighty-one million people shopped Cyber Monday sales in 2017 (NRF).
  • Last year, 71 percent of people said they planned to shop on Cyber Monday, compared to 69 percent who said they planned to shop on Black Friday (com).
  • In the 18 to 34-year-old consumer group, as 88 percent planned to shop on Cyber Monday compared to 74 percent of 35 to 54-year-olds in 2017 (com).
  • The most popular item to shop for on Cyber Monday? Clothes, as 22 percent of consumer seek deals for clothing (com).
  • Despite clothes being the most sought-after for deals, TVs represented the biggest average discount of 21.1 percent (Forbes).
  • Surprise, surprise. Amazon is the most popular Cyber Monday retailer, having captured 60 percent of Cyber Monday sales in 2017 (com).

So, what can we expect for Cyber Monday 2018?

Despite the heightened craze around online shopping, based on its annual survey, the National Retail Federation predicts that a lower number of people will shop during Cyber Monday this year—only 75 million compared to last year’s 81 million. The reason? Younger consumers, considered those under the age of 35, were more focused on the social and family traditional aspect of shopping in-store on the days prior to Cyber Monday.

Time will tell what this year’s Cyber Monday stats will reveal. In the meantime, happy shopping!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Why We’re Thankful for Life in Auburn, Alabama

Welcome to Thanksgiving week! In anticipation of the holiday and all that surrounds it, you may be experiencing a slew of emotions. Hunger for a plate filled with turkey, cranberry sauce and broccoli-cheese casserole. Elation for days off of work and school. Excitement for late-night Black Friday shopping. Dread for seeing those relatives who—well, you know the ones. Another feeling that we should all be expressing now, if not year round, is gratitude for the good things in our lives. Though at McNutt & Partners our clients and employees are pretty spread out geographically, our home base is Auburn, Alabama. With this city as our central hub, here are a few reasons why we’re thankful for life in Auburn, Alabama.

  • Connectivity. Though Auburn itself may not be a bustling metropolitan mecca (and those of us who live here are glad it’s not), we’re close to a few major urban environments. Atlanta is less than two hours by car (and the airport is even closer), Birmingham is a two-hour drive, and our state’s capital, Montgomery, is a quick hour down Interstate 85. Auburn is also within arm’s reach of Columbus, Georgia, the Gulf Coast—and destinations like Savannah and Charleston on the east coast are within a day’s doable driving distance.
  • City scale. Sitting in traffic for an hour to get to work? No thanks! It’s one of the perks of living and working here in Auburn. We enjoy the amenities and resources of a big city without having to deal with many big city headaches. (We know, game day traffic is another story, but it’s worth it!)
  • A thriving business climate. We would know—we’re lucky to be part of it! When doing business in Auburn, you’re never alone, as the support of other entrepreneurs, local enterprises and our chambers of commerce is tangible. And it’s a business community that continues to grow.
  • Continued investment into the area. A fitting segue from above, we’re thankful for life in Auburn, Alabama, also due to the ongoing attention the area receives from others looking to invest in the community. It’s evidenced by construction going on in all corners of the town and Auburn University campus, which will ultimately paint Auburn as a worthy candidate for further advancement.
  • A research community. Research is a driving force here in Auburn, and we’re lucky to be surrounded by it on a daily basis at our location in the Auburn Research Park. From initiatives to turn garbage into energy to leading global security corporations that continue to innovate, there’s an abundance of research activity going on under our roof—not to mention at Auburn University.
  • Auburn University. It’s really what makes all of the above possible. Founded in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, the award-winning Auburn University now enrolls nearly 30,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students representing 140 majors among 15 colleges. It also employs more than 5,000 full-time employees, making it the largest employer in the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan area. Not to mention, we love our Auburn Tigers sports teams, who, on a good day, lead us downtown to Toomer’s Corner with rolls of toilet paper in hand.
  • Local tradition. Toilet paper–cue traditions! Not every community is fortunate enough to be rooted in tradition as deeply as Auburn, and we mean roots in a literal sense. Rolling the Toomer’s Oaks after a Tigers victory never gets old for us. Neither does Toomer’s lemonade, the flying of the eagles at home games, tailgating on Samford lawn—the list goes on.
  • The Auburn Family. Yes, it’s a real thing. You’ve seen those commercials where someone is on an African safari and sees another person wearing an Auburn ball cap, and they exchange a “Hey, War Eagle!” It’s the idea that no matter where you are in the world, you have an understanding with a fellow member of the Auburn Family—and family always has your back.

In addition to being thankful for where we live, work and play, we’re also thankful for the wonderful people and businesses we have the opportunity to work with on a daily basis. 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.

 

 

 

Counting Down: Your Next 8 Weeks of Holiday Digital Marketing

Though you may still be rifling through your leftover Halloween candy, the consumer world is in full swing in anticipation of winter holidays on the way. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s—it’s all happening in the span of the next eight weeks, and as a marketer, it’s time to formulate your plan of attack. The holiday season is prime time for capturing new leads, and instilling brand confidence in existing ones. Here’s an outline for your next eight weeks of holiday digital marketing.

Week 1 (Nov. 12): If you haven’t already, it’s time to start talking about the holiday season in your messaging. If you’re one of those people who thinks Christmas music is off limits until after Thanksgiving, that’s fine; however, don’t ignore it in your marketing plan! It’s the last full week before Thanksgiving, so find a way to make concepts like Thanksgiving prep, travel, family gatherings and even Thanksgiving week football connect to your brand messaging.

Week 2 (Nov. 19): Turkey Day is three days away! Now’s the time to ramp up what you did in week one, as well as find ways for you as a brand nto express thanks and talk about what you are grateful for (i.e., your customers). Here are several ways you can thank your customers this Thanksgiving via various marketing mediums. Don’t forget to plan a Thanksgiving post for the big day. Thanksgiving isn’t the only excitement for the week, however. Depending on your brand, Black Friday may be your biggest day of the year. If you are having specials for the occasion, let customers know throughout the week what they can expect—and be sure to share any irregular hours that you will be open.

Week 3 (Nov. 26): Ah, the post-Thanksgiving lull. Time to relax, right? No way! Thanksgiving comes early this year, so having a full week of November after the fact may lead you to dismiss December holidays until December 1. In reality, this extra week just means more opportunity for you to hone in on your holiday messaging. Start spelling out your December specials now so people can prepare. If specials don’t fit your brand, then you can still join the holiday festivities. Start a countdown to the holidays, or host giveaways using holiday trivia. And don’t forget Hanukah—it starts Dec. 2 and ends Dec. 10.

Week 4 (Dec. 3): Now that you’ve flipped your calendars to December, the end of the year is in sight. Not only should you be full-on theming your messaging around the holidays, but also, think about any end-of-the-year promotions you may be running. If your product is of the gift-giving type, now’s a good time to remind people when the last day to order is for gifts to arrive in time. Also, if you haven’t decorated, now’s the time—and we don’t just mean in brick-and-mortar stores. Adjust your digital assets like your social media profile and cover photos to reflect the holiday season.

Week 5 (Dec. 10): There are two weeks to go until Christmas Eve, so remind your followers that preparation time is precious. Whether you’re selling a product that could appear under the Christmas tree or you’re simply giving helpful advice, ideas for messaging could include offering tips for holiday shopping, gift wrapping and even travel. If you really want to go the extra mile, put together a gift guide to share on your social media accounts. Now’s also a good time to remind people that gift certificates to (Insert Your Business Name Here) make for excellent last-minute gifts.

Week 6 (Dec. 17): The way the calendar falls this year, this will likely be the last full week most people are working before the Christmas holiday. That being said, if you’re a b2b brand, make sure you have everything you need from your clients to get you both through the in-between time. Oh yeah, and did we mention that there is one week left until Christmas?! That may not seem like much time, but it’s still plenty of opportunity to hit your followers with a helping of holiday digital marketing cheer. Schedule it out ahead of time so that you’re not having to work up until the last minute. For your Christmas Day posts, it’s OK to get a little more personal. Share some of your staff’s favorite Christmas traditions or memories, or simply express the way the day makes you feel. Your brand followers will appreciate learning more about the faces behind the brand, and what better time to do that than the holidays?

Week 7 (Dec. 24): ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the digital marketing realm…OK, we’ll stop there. But hopefully, if you took our advice of scheduling social posts and blogs ahead of time, now you can relax! As the week goes on, however, there’s new holiday digital marketing fodder to consume: Kwanzaa (starting Dec. 26) New Year’s Eve, and the concept of an impending new year in general. As 2018 comes to a close, it’s a time for reflection—meaning posts sharing your “Best Blogs of 2018” or “Best Memories of 2018” are appropriate.

Week 8 (Dec. 31): That’s a wrap for 2018. Let your brand followers know what you as a business are looking forward to in the New Year! And don’t forget to plan a “Happy New Year” post at midnight.

See, holiday digital marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming! If you feel that way though, the McNutt & Partners team can help. Fill out our contact form to get in touch with us about your marketing needs today—before the chaos of the holidays ensues.

Dealing with Declining Organic Reach on Social Media

We like to think of social media as a “free” form of advertising, and it is—to an extent. Recent changes to the way content is disseminated to social media users—specifically on Facebook—has made it more challenging for marketers and business pages to get their posts into the spotlight. Declining organic reach on social media is not something to be taken lightly; fortunately, however, there are ways to combat this marketing disadvantage to still have your content seen by your intended audiences.

What is organic reach?

You may have heard the term thrown around here and there, but what exactly does it mean? Organic reach is how well your posts perform without any paid support. Putting money behind your posts gets them seen by a larger audience, but organic reach is how far they extend without money—left to the whim of Facebook’s (or any social media platform’s) algorithm.

Why is it declining?

In early 2018, Facebook announced that it would begin prioritizing content from friends and family in users’ news feeds above brand content. This means that the posts that now rank the highest on Facebook are those that promote person-to-person interactions. We’re focusing on Facebook here, but organic reach has also gradually declined on other platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Here’s a look at how organic reach has declined over the years on Facebook:

2007-2012: 16 percent of Facebook “fans,” (followers of “Fan Pages,” which launched in 2007) were seeing these Fan Page posts in their news feeds on average.

2014: That number drops to 6.5 percent.

2016: Facebook adjusts its News Feed algorithm again, and organic reach is lower than 2 percent in some cases.

2018: Facebook revamps its News Feed entirely following the Cambridge Analytica data misuse incident. Organic reach declines even further as Facebook strives to avoid exploitation of user privacy.

So what content is being prioritized?

Don’t be mistaken—content from business pages has not been eliminated from personal users’ News Feeds entirely. However, the factors that make a post rank may or may not apply to marketing messaging. Facebook is prioritizing content:

  • That is shared via Facebook Messenger.
  • That is liked or commented on.
  • That receives multiple likes or comments.
  • That promotes “meaningful interactions” between users (i.e., shares and comments).

What can I do?

Dealing with declining organic reach on social media is now all about making sure the content you are pushing out is the type that will promote the “meaningful interactions” mentioned above. Here’s what you should be doing:

  • Paying to promote content. With organic reach now next to nil, paying to promote your social content is pretty much a must. Pay attention to the audience you are targeting with paid content. You can adjust factors like location, age, gender, interests and more, so make sure the audience you are appealing to is relevant.
  • Posting more meaningful content less frequently. Rather than posting constantly to see what sticks, you’ll fare better to post quality content on a more limited basis. Again, think about your audience and what type of content will promote those meaningful interactions mentioned earlier in this post.
  • Encouraging fans to adjust their notification settings. Fans of your page can actually tell Facebook, “I DO want to see this page’s content in my New Feed.” To do this, they can go to your page, click “Following” in the top navigation bar and select “See First” in their news feeds rather than “Default.” Fans can also go to the side navigation bar and click “Pages,” to see content from all pages they have liked.
  • Video, video video. According to WordStream, social video generates 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined. Videos have a higher engagement rate, which means good news for dealing with declining organic reach on social media.
  • Experimenting with Stories. The “Stories” features on Facebook and Instagram allow you to bypass the algorithms that put you at a disadvantage. With stories, content is available to be seen for 24 hours from the time it was posted, making it ideal for more temporary, timely engagement.
  • Customizing content for specific platforms. The same copy and graphics that get a stellar response on Instagram may not shine as brightly on Twitter, for example. Some platforms like loads of hashtags (Instagram), while others prefer quick, punchy copy (Twitter). Optimize your content for the social network to which you are posting.

Declining organic reach on social media does not mean that businesses can no longer use social media as a marketing channel; it just means that the manner in which they go about it may have to be adjusted. If you need help improving your reach on social media, the McNutt & Partners team can help. Call us today at 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.