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Facebook Ads for Small Businesses

Facebook Ads for Small Businesses 

Facebook is a great marketing tool, but is it relevant to your business? The answer is yes–when used correctly! The Facebook algorithm has made it difficult to reach customers organically. This discourages business owners from using Facebook because it can feel like a waste of time. 

Facebook marketing is anything but a waste of time. When utilized to its full potential, Facebook can help you target specific demographics, manage your advertisements and sponsored posts, run analytics on how your content is performing, and foster brand loyalty amongst your customers. 

Facebook Ad Targeting 

When creating a Facebook Ad, you can choose to use an image, a video, a blog, or other literature from your company. Once you’ve set up your post, Facebook will help you determine your ad objective and the demographics you want to target.  

Your ad objective may be to get clicks to your website, an app installed, or messages to your Facebook profile. Choosing your objective is important because it helps Facebook send the right customers to the right places. 

Demographic targeting starts with determining the age, gender, location, and language of the ideal customer you want to see your ad. Facebook provides a visual that helps you know how large your audience is as you choose specific demographics. 

Detailed targeting continues into more specific interests and details. For example, you can target specific income brackets, political affiliations, and hobby interests. These detailed demographics will help Facebook use your advertising money to see the best return on investment. 

The Benefits of Facebook Analytics

Once your ads and organic posts are up and running, you can begin to see Facebook’s analytics of your content’s impressions, clicks, and other engagements. Analytics will help you see which content your audience prefers. Maybe photos with graphics work better than blog post links–Facebook analytics will help you find trends in your content compared to engagement. 

Consider checking your Facebook analytics page a day after posting, and a week after posting. See how well your content is doing on a regular basis and make the necessary changes to post more engaging content for your customers. 

Brand Loyalty through Facebook Groups

A Facebook page is a must-have for most businesses, but many businesses are beginning to see the benefit of using Facebook groups. The Facebook algorithm has been pushing group engagement to the top of news feeds because it is more engaging than a Facebook page ad. 

Brands can create a Facebook group centered around their product or brand which helps customers connect with each other and with the brand. Facebook groups create an easy way to solve customer service issues quickly. Customers can communicate with each other about best practices when using your product and you can gather user generated content to share on your social pages! 

Social Media Managers

A social media manager can help you manage your Facebook ads along with other social media platforms. CAST Design Team can manage all of your online marketing and help you create a marketing strategy to engage your potential customers. Reach out today to learn more about our marketing packages!

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How to Create a Powerful Brand Identity (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Create a Powerful Brand Identity (A Step-by-Step Guide)

When you think of your brand identity, you probably visualize your logo, what your website looks like, or even your mission statement and what you stand for. In reality, these are all small components that make up what your brand identity actually is – the entire picture and the whole of your business. 

A strong brand identity is important because it’s what sets you apart from competing businesses and makes it more likely that people will remember you. It should reflect what your brand says, your company values, how you communicate your product, and spark an emotion when people interact with it. You’re making a certain promise to your customers with your brand identity about the standards they should expect, and it’s up to you to deliver just that.

Building a brand identity can’t happen overnight and may continue to grow and evolve as your business does. But here are some basic steps in creating a powerful brand identity if you’re just starting out or just need to refresh an already established business.

Research Audience and Competition

What does your audience want or expect from other businesses in your industry? What is their age demographic? Their budget? What do they do? These are important market research questions that should be addressed as you build your brand’s identity. 

You also want to have something to offer your audience that other businesses can’t. How does your product or service compare to others around you, and what can convince customers to choose you instead?

Determine Core Values

Your principles and company philosophies should represent your business, so establish a clear and direct mission statement with goals that are attainable and realistic. This will drive you into the future and give customers a sense of your company’s purpose. You should also develop a brand voice and story at this stage and determine how you’d like to come across to your customers.

Develop Creative Elements

This is where the fun and creativity begins! You can start as basic as finding a company name, then move on to the logo, typeface, and color palette you’d like to adopt. Figure out what sort of visual elements you’d like to incorporate into your brand. Factors like photography, iconography, illustrations, shapes, taglines, and vocabulary are also important to consider.

At this point you can also make a style guide that lays out what visual rules you want the company to follow. Just make sure that everything you do moving forward reflects this guide in order to stay consistent and on brand.

Strategize, Analyze, and Refine

It takes time to establish a brand identity, and with that, remember that it will evolve and change over time. This is a good thing and usually means your business is growing! 

You should continuously evaluate what your core principles are and ensure your brand identity still reflects that. Are you still delivering on the promises you initially gave to your audience? Be ready to change any brand elements that no longer stand for your company.

Building a strong brand identity will pay off in positive customer relationships and experiences. Stay memorable, stay consistent, stay true to what your business stands for.

Need help creating your brand’s identity? 

Our team of creative brand specialists are ready to assist!

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The Fool-Proof Guide to Running a Business Instagram Account

The Fool-Proof Guid to Running a Business Instagram Account

Instagram is a key tool in today’s marketing arsenal for businesses. Using Instagram for your business, whether big or small, helps potential customers find easy information about you–this means you need to be strategic about what you post, when you post, and how you post!

Marketing on Instagram shouldn’t feel stressful, instead it should be an exciting creative opportunity! Below we’ve outlined a simple strategy to get Instagram to work for you. If you have any questions, we are more than willing to help you build your Instagram strategy and help you see online success!

Create a Strategy

Many companies make the mistake of using Instagram without a strategy. Your Instagram profile is a reflection of your business and you will want this to be as professional and strategic as possible. Your Instagram Strategy will include information about your audience. Having a better understanding of your audience allows you to post better content that they are more likely to be interested in.

Define your strategy by answering these questions:

  • Who is my Target Audience?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What do they respond best to?
  • Why would they be searching for your product or service and what questions do they have once they find you?

Engage your Audience

People work with brands they know and trust–which means you need to be authentic! Your social media should feel like a real person is on the other side, not a business. Use these tips to engage genuinely with your audience:

  • Like & comment on your follower’s post
  • Like & comment on potential follower’s posts
  • Respond quickly to comments and mentions
  • Ask open ended questions so your followers have something to respond to
  • Showcase loyal followers on your story

Use the Instagram Algorithm to your Advantage

Does the phrase ‘Instagram Algorithm’ leave you scared and stressed? No worries! It is easy to use the Instagram Algorithm once you know what important factors it is looking at to put your posts at the top of your followers’ feed.

The top factors in the Instagram Algorithm are Relationship, Interest, and Timeliness. Use these tips to make the algorithm work for you:

  • Relationship – Instagram prioritizes content based on relationships. If you interact with someone frequently, you’re more likely to show up on their timeline. In your captions, ask your followers questions that will lead to comments.
  • Interest – Instagram prioritizes content based on how much a viewer would potentially like a post. Be sure that you’re posting content relatable to your audience.
  • Timeliness – Instagram shows users the most recent content first, so posting when your audience is online is important.

Use Instagram insights

Instagram Insights is data that helps you understand what is working and what is not working about your social media strategy. Keep in mind that Instagram Insights are only available for the previous week, so we highly suggest that you track this information on the same day each week and save it in a spreadsheet.

The insights will help you learn about:

  • Activity – to see how many people see your content, where they see it, and how many interactions your profile had in views and clicks.
  • Content – to view data on your posts, stories, and ads.
  • Audience – to know who your audience is, where they live, when they’re online, and more demographics.

Social Media Managers

If all of this information sounds a bit stressful–do not fear! You can hire a remote social media manager that can help create your strategy, design and write content, and schedule your social media posts. Reach out to CAST Design Team today and let’s talk about your social media needs!

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Using the Instagram Algorithm to Your Advantage

Using the Instagram Algorithm to Your Advantage

How can you use the Instagram Algorithm to your advantage when scheduling content? This is a question we at CAST Design Team receive all the time. In this blog, we’ll explain three Instagram Algorithm facts that come straight from the pro’s at Instagram.

What is the Instagram Algorithm?

Before 2016, Instagram shared posts in reverse chronological order–meaning the most recent posts appeared at the top of your feed and you scrolled back in time. July 2016 brought a change in Instagram when the company opted for an algorithm. The mysterious algorithm shares posts in what can seem to be a random order. The Instagram Algorithm, however, is anything but random!

A Learning Machine

The Instagram Algorithm is a learning machine. Instagram looks at your past behavior and how you interact with accounts to then show you a feed curated to your tastes and actions. Accounts that you interact with will show up earlier on your feed and accounts that you don’t comment and like as often will fall lower in the feed. There are 3 specific things Instagram uses to decide what posts go where: Interest, Recency, and Relationship.

Interest

Instagram can predict what you are interested in by reviewing past behavior. In simple terms, if you like and comment on Instagram posts about Disneyland, you are going to start seeing more posts about Disneyland in your feed.

If you want to show up in your followers’ feeds more often, find out what they are interested in and incorporate it into your Instagram content, so they are more likely to comment and like these posts. This is a smart way to use the Instagram Algorithm to your advantage and get in front of your audience more often.

Recency

Timeliness of posts is also a factor in the Instagram Algorithm. More recent posts get priority over posts that are weeks old. Companies can benefit from this knowledge by posting regularly to consistently stay in their followers’ feeds. Another great way to use this to your advantage is to track your analytics and make sure you know when a majority of your follows are online this way you can post at those times.

 

Relationship

If you regularly interact with an account’s posts, such as commenting and liking, you will see more posts from that account in your feed. Your relationship with accounts is important to the Instagram Algorithm. Utilize this knowledge by using a call-to-action in your content asking your followers to comment their opinions and experiences and ALWAYS respond to their comments.

Instagram Algorithm Help

Does the Instagram Algorithm still give you anxiety? Don’t stress–contact CAST Design Team today and we can help you master the Instagram Algorithm and get your posts seen by more followers.

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3 Tips for Creating Facebook Ads that Convert

3 Tips for Creating Facebook Ads that Convert

Facebook is a great place to share your products to potential customers. Creating Facebook Ads that convert can be a difficult task, and it is harder than throwing a link and some text into the program. We’ve compiled our three best tips for creating Facebook Ads that convert.

Share the Benefit

On Facebook, about every 5th post is an ad. Why should a potential customer stop and read your ad long enough to click ‘Learn More’? Entice your customers by telling them not what you sell, but what your product will do for them.

Many people stop at the features of their products, but do not go into the benefits of those features. Instead of stopping at 24/7 support, printable PDFs, or access to a library of video content for life, share what benefits those features will bring your customer. An easy way to share benefits is to use the ‘so that’ phrase. Here are a few generic examples:

“You’ll have 24/7 access to our support staff so that you never feel alone during your purchase.”

“Printable PDFs help you accomplish your goals so that you can see your progress and feel motivated to continue.”

“Have access to the library of video content for life so that you always have the resources you need.”

Use Specific Numbers

It’s easy and boring to say that a customer could save money by choosing your car insurance firm. It’s creative, attention grabbing, and memorable to say that, “[Business Name/Service] can save you 15% or more on your [problem].” Think of Gieco in this example. The simple addition of a specific number has made for one of the most memorable slogans in advertising.

Implement this strategy by gathering data on what you are trying to share in a Facebook Ad and include specific numbers that resonate with your ideal customer. These numbers will supplement your credibility while catching the eye of your customer.

Simplify Your Call-to-Action

You want your customer to click on the link, check out the website, buy the product now, give you their email address, and follow you on Facebook. That is too many things for one customer to take in, so you need to simplify your call-to-action. Decide on one thing you’d like to ask them to do and include that in your Facebook ads. For example, ask them to redeem their 20% off offer now, or sign up to receive a free PDF that leads them to seek you out for more.

We’re Here to Help

Facebook Ads may seem like a daunting task. You are not in this alone! CAST Design Team is here to help when Facebook Ads feel intimidating. Contact us today for a consultation and we can get your Facebook Ads up and running!

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5 Things You Can Do to Standout at a Networking Event

5 Things You Can Do to Standout at a Networking Event

Have you ever been to a networking event? If so, you know networking can be intimidating, especially if you are stepping out of your comfort level, looking for a new job or just trying to get to know like-minded professionals like yourself. Many people like to use networking events to find potential clients or customers for their business. Are you one of them? If so, here are the 5 things you can do to stand out at a networking event when promoting your business:

  1. Conduct a Survey

Surveys, whether interview style or gathering specific data, this can help you document your experience, make a list of who you spoke to and be a great ice breaker. Surveys help you connect with someone more quickly by asking questions and find similar interests. It’s a unique and interactive way to “take notes”. Plus, it’s great market research!

  1. Be Your Own Publicist.

Ever heard of an elevator pitch? It’s a short description of a product, company or about yourself such that any listener can understand you or your business in a short period of time. It’s a great way to showcase yourself or business. Tell them how your product works, your specialty and why they should give you a chance. Don’t forget to mention how you’re different than competitors.

Elevator Tips:

  • Skip Industry Jargon. Make it simple and relatable to anyone. You never know who may be listening to your pitch.
  • Practice before attending the Networking Events.
  • Identify your Desired Action. What do you want to get out of your pitch?
  1. Show Enthusiasm.

Show interest in the person you are talking to. Engage in conversation and ask questions. Be patient. The conversation may not always be about you and your business. It’s important to be an active listener.

  1. Build Relationships

Showing how your product works, what skills you have and how you can easily connect with people from all lines of businesses is something we all want to do when we’re in front of a group of potential clients/customers. But this should be done, IF and only IF, the particular event you are at is the appropriate place to do this. The last thing you want to do at a networking event is come off as salesy. These things are about building relationships. So, while it’s important to let people know about what you do, there may be a better time and place for a more in-depth conversation. As long as the person you met knows what industry you’re in, they’re probably more likely to think of you first when they come across someone that needs your services because they actually had a genuine conversation with you!

  1. A Take Away

People will remember you if they have something to remember you by. Whether you’re looking for a job, new clients or customers, or just there to meet people, this is providing them with your business card, resume or something that will make them want to connect with you outside of the event.

Don’t forget Networking Events are about building relationships over time. It’s making that first impression, sharing contact information and making it easier to reach out to them outside of the event dynamics. Now go through your notes, start sending out emails and build your relationships for yourself or for your business! Good Luck!

How do you prepare yourself for Networking Events? What works for you? Share your experiences!

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5 things you can do right now to improve your Social Media

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Social Media

Your social media platforms are your businesses community. It’s a place where current and potential clients and customers go to learn more about you, interact with you, and be apart of something bigger than them! It’s important to make sure you give them a safe and useful place to go. Here are a few tips:

  1. Complete your profile
    Go through your profile and make sure that it is complete. If there is a spot for you to put information, it’s probably a good idea to use that spot to promote your brand. Make sure you have included all the company details and that it’s presented in a way that’s suitable for that social channel. Remember, not all social media channels are used for the same types of content. Facebook is a more personal look inside your company, whereas LinkedIn is more for connecting with other professionals and businesses.
  2. Develop 3 avatars of your ideal client
    Who is a client right now that you just love working with? How can you duplicate them? Make an avatar of them and write down as much as you can about them. Once you have at least 3 avatars, create content around what they want to know, what drives them to make decisions, etc. This will give you a firm idea of the direction of future content, and a backbone for your overall tone and content types.
  3. Content themes
    The easiest way to create content for your social media pages is to determine a content theme for each day. For example, if you are a business coach, on Mondays you can give a productivity tip for the rest of the week. On Tuesdays, you announce your new blog post. On Wednesday’s you shout out a client and show how you solved something for them. On Thursday, you post a local business event or workshop. On Friday you close the week by posting a business tool. This can help keep social media posting manageable since you’re trying to keep up with your marketing and running a business and keeping clients happy…the list goes on!
  4. Automate and create a calendar ahead of time
    There are so many 3rd party tools for automating processes online you can’t even count anymore. Social media is no different, to the point where it’s grown so big that these outside services were bound to happen and even evolve. If your company has several social media channels, and you want to have regular engagement and interaction on social medial, automation tools are a necessity.
  5. Engage
    Take at least one hour a day to follow people back and leave comments. The more active you are, the more beloved you become by your fans and followers. It isn’t just about sharing useful content, it’s about responding to questions and comments and showing that you are active in the online social media community.

Sound like a lot of work to do on your own? That’s what we’re here for! Check out our social media packages today.

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Mini Brand Assessment: Is your Brand on Point?

Mini Brand Assessment: Is your Brand on Point?

Your brand plays a larger role than you might think when it comes to your organization’s overall appearance and presentation. Your brand is a part of your entire communication strategy. Because of this, you want to make sure your brand is on point! There are several questions you can ask yourself to see if your brand has it going on! For example, is my logo appropriate for the industry and niche we’re in? Or, do our company colors best represent the overall tone & vibe we want to portray? There are so many examples, with so little time, so today, let’s focus on just a few.

  1. Does your brand reflect the experience?
    Sometimes we fall in love with the images and fonts that make up our logo, and sometimes we think our logo is the only thing that makes up our brand. What we don’t always think about is how other people see our brand. What would your clients say about your brand? Would they think that your brand reflects what you do? Furthermore, if you had to step into your own customer’s shoes, would you look back at your own brand as something easily identifiable and easy to remember?
  2. Does your vision match your brand promise?
    Your brand promise is what your customer come to expect every time they interact with your company. Your brand promise is the value and/or experience that your company is known for. Everything your business does should reflect this brand promise. Some of your customers or clients may work with you solely based on the experience they have every time they interact with you, what would happen if one day that changed? More likely than not that client wouldn’t stick around. So, now that you have a solid brand promise, what about your brand vision? What if your brand vision doesn’t match that promise? Since your vision is what guides you to the future, you need to make sure the two are aligned or it can cause serious problems in the future. 
  3. Does your brand stand out?
    There are a few easy ways to easily determine if your brand stands out or not. Start by doing a Google search of your industry. What do other brands in your industry look like? How does your brand look different or stand out in comparison to what you’re seeing online? Another great way to determine if your brand stands out is to go to a networking event and come back with a stack of business cards, add yours in to the stack at random, and shuffle through them. Does your pop out to you for any other reason than that it’s yours? We hope it does! 
  4. Are you being clear?
    Having a clear message is important. If people don’t know what you do, how are they going to know to work with you? Get some feedback from friends and strangers. Show people your website, or your business card, or any other collateral item you may have, and ask them if they know what you do. If they don’t know from a single look at one of those items, you might have a problem! 
  5. Is it Memorable?
    Catchy slogans and sayings can go along way, where many of the biggest brands today have perfected this art. But it’s more than that, where sometimes a brand and its identity stay burned into the memory banks of everyone who see’s it because it was just different. Want to know if your brand is memorable? Show someone your logo for 5 seconds and ask them to draw it. Tell someone your business name and ask them a minute later what it is. Tell your employees your core values and see if they can remember it the next day. The results of these tasks will be a good indicator of whether or not your brand is memorable. 

So, we challenge you to take 10 minutes out of your day to truly ask yourself, members of your team, friends, and strangers some of these questions. You may be surprised at some of the answers. Whether these surprises are good or bad, that’s entirely dependent on where your brand quality is today.

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5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Website

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Website

Your website is often the first thing a potential client sees when it comes to your business. It’s important to make sure that your first impression is a good one. We’re here to help! Here are 5 easy ways to improve your website right now.

  1. Have two main Call to Actions on our website
    How do you sell a client? Is it by a phone call? Is it a meeting where you are in front of them? Whatever that is, that is your main call to action which we call “marry me”. This is the call to action that has your prospect make a commitment to you to take the next step. The second call to action is more of “date me”. Just in case they aren’t ready to get married yet, we still want them to show their interest. This can be asking them to join the newsletter, checking out a blog, following you on social media, etc. Make sure your website has these two Call to Actions.
  2. Tell a story
    You have to tell a story; however, you are not the hero in this story. Your potential client is the hero and you are simply the guide to help them achieve what they need. The customer always comes first, and this couldn’t be truer in the customer to business provider relationship. Part of your mission statement should be how you historically (whether you have 1 client or 1,000) have over delivered on everything you’ve promised, and that your organization is dedicated to your success first.
  3. Curate your testimonials
    Why are most clients hesitant to work with you? What are they worried about? Identify those and curate the testimonials that pinpoint those pains. Scatter your testimonials all over the place on the web to show that you have done quality work in the past for reputable legitimate businesses.
  4. Create a simple process
    What does the process of working with you look like? Create a section to explain this. Every time you ask someone to do something, they think about what kind of time investment it means to them. Showing them a step by step breakdown makes whatever you are asking them to do seem so simple, instead of thinking of how hard it’s going to be. Maybe an infographic or some simple type of illustration showing your process in simple terms.
  5. Make it easy to contact you
    Towards the top of your website, put your contact information and make sure that you have a form on your contact page. Think about what type of content you would like to see if you were the one shopping for your product/services. Never make it hard for someone to buy from you. Creating a seamless and easy process for contacting you or buying from you can help make them want to work with you rather than anyone else. Just be absolutely sure that whatever number or email you use is on high alert and almost constantly monitored 24/7.
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5 things you can do right now to improve your brand

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Brand

  1. Check your logo on all platforms
    Does your logo look different on each platform? Do you have a branding guideline or logo family to help you remember what logo to use when? Creating this guide will help with consistency as well as knowing when to use what version. Stacked Version, Horizontal Version, and Icon are the typical three variations of a logo. Logo sizes and resolutions can appear differently on the type of device you are viewing it on so it’s important to know what works where. Make sure you have a variety of different logos for different content formats. Even with live print, your logo can look much different on paper than on a screen. Having a branding guideline and using the right logo file, fonts, and colors can help you save money and keep your branding consistent.
  1. Develop 3 avatars of your ideal client
    If you don’t know who your ideal client is, how do you market your business to them successfully? The key is taking current or ideal clients and creating a detailed profile of them, often called avatars or personas. Once you have at least 3 avatars you can start creating content and a brand that your ideal clients would actually want to read about, ask about, or get curious about.
  2. What is your competition doing?
    Research who you are competing against and study them. Look at their website, social media platforms, and even try out their product or service if you can. Now, how do you do it differently or better? Be sure to look at what they’re doing poorly and really well. By looking at what they do better you can emulate (not replicate!) the general strategy they are executing. You can put your own spin on an already effective strategy and not waste time on reinventing the wheel. Whatever you do though, don’t take this piece of advice as us saying you shouldn’t innovate, because you definitely should!
  3. Educate
    You are an expert in your field and you know the complexity of it. When talking to your ideal client, do not use jargon or industry words as you will lose them in a heartbeat. Instead, educate them on why they need you. You can do this in many ways such as blogs, podcast, video, webinars, social media, and more. The way to gain new customers or clients isn’t through always selling. Instead educate first, and then sell later. Now, it depends on the client or customer on how much educating they need before you hit them with any kind of sales pitch, so be cognizant of this, and with the opportunity of meeting any new potential buyer always check their temperature first to see how interested and invested they presently are in your idea.
  4. Develop a unique Logo or tagline
    You have heard it before, be memorable, but how? It takes creativity to express what makes you different. Develop a logo that is not only unique, meaning it was designed for your brand, but also that can easily be recognized. A tagline should be around 4 – 8 words, that’s it! Any more and no one will remember it. Anything catchy will do because catchy slogans, songs, or jingles get stuck in our heads, even if its the local car dealership ad on the radio, and you don’t need a car, it can still get stuck in your subconscious if its good. Creating this type of brand awareness is ideal for customer loyalty and for staying top of mind of the individuals that don’t need your services yet but may in the future.