Author Archives: Kate

About Kate

As a former television journalist, Ms. Hagen knows a lot about engaging an audience. She is adept at using social media to capture the attention of travelers, feeding them useful information and carefully selected tidbits, all with the goal of turning prospective travelers into overnights.

When communicating with customers, remember the basics

Posted on Saturday, September 21, 2019 by Kate

Today’s consumers are bombarded with advertising everywhere they look, especially on social media. Paid advertising has taken over newsfeeds on nearly every social platform. While paid posts are necessary to increase web traffic and sales, brands must also maintain social pages with appealing organic content to build real relationships with potential customers.

Relevance

One of the biggest challenges brands face on social media today is reaching audiences with organic content. While it’s critical to run paid posts, brands can benefit from developing strong organic posts. However, they can’t simply share information about their products or services to capture the attention of their audience. Even though someone follows the brand, they might not want to see posts about the brand on their timeline every day. This means brands should think about sharing information that serves their audience. For example, a vegan clothing brand profits from selling t-shirts, but it keeps its followers engaged by not only sharing photos of the shirts, but also sharing vegan recipes and lifestyle content. Diversifying the types of information included in posts keeps followers interested and engaged and strengthens brand identities.

Conversation

Brands can form strong ties with followers and create customers by talking to them online. Whether it’s helping solve a customer’s problem via Facebook or directing someone to a website, small interactions can go a long way. Brands can start dialogue and increase engagement on their posts by posing questions to their followers. They can also utilize poll features to ask questions and get their followers thinking about the brand or topics related to their products. Organic posts that receive likes and comments tend to receive favor from algorithms, so the more people that are interacting with a post, the more people who will see it. Brands should make an effort to start conversations to create positive impressions and increase awareness through customer interaction.

Authenticity

In a world of curated, calculated messaging everywhere we look, social media users (especially young ones) have become more critical of advertising. Brands can combat the anti-advertising stigma by creating content, both organic and paid, that doesn’t use a “sales-y” voice. Many brands have chosen to post from their social media accounts as if the brand is an individual person. When taking on this voice, they’re able to act more personable and approachable, and they’re more easily able to start conversations with followers. They also enact the 80/20 rule, which means that only 20 percent of the content they share relates to products and promotions, while the other 80 percent is dedicated to sharing curated content, entertainment and useful information with followers.

The Importance of Paying to Promote

Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019 by Kate

More than 60 billion brands now have Facebook pages. Not so long ago, on average, 17% of a brand’s fan base saw its posts organically (meaning without paying to promote them). Now that number is hovering closer to 2% for many brands.

Facebook prioritizes relevant content, with the hope of providing the best user experience possible. Therefore, strong content will always be important, especially given how much noise there is from competing brands. But with 2% organic reach becoming the norm, paying to promote posts has become an absolute necessity.

Recognizing this decline on the horizon, Pilch & Barnet has been incorporating promoted posts into our clients Facebook advertising for years. With a modest budget, and careful moderation, the results of these ads speak for themselves, to the tune of several thousand engagements each quarter, along with strong and consistent reach among fans. And, the benefits keep multiplying, because the more engagement a page has, the more likely its posts are to show up organically in the future, at no extra cost!

We look forward to sharing your message with more potential visitors in 2019!

Algorithms vs Audiences: Who are content creators aiming to please?

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by Kate

In today’s fast-paced world, people are inundated with messaging everywhere they look. This crowded environment is a hurdle for advertisers who must be creative if they want to stand out. Content must be developed to suit not only changing consumer preferences, but evolving technologies as well. Here’s what content creators need to know for 2019:

Blog posts improve SEO

Nothing boosts traffic to your website like a high-quality blog post. Search engines like Google give priority to websites containing relevant keywords. Blog articles allow you to include important words and phrases that place you higher under Google’s algorithm. On top of that, blogs give you the ability to link internally, extending both the time visitors spend on your site and the number of pages they view. Blogs also increase the chance that other websites will link to your website for reference, improving your visibility and boosting your brand’s relevance.

Video grabs attention

Video continues to garner higher engagement than all other content on Facebook. Some 100 million hours of video are watched on the social platform each day, and it’s safe to say that number will continue to grow in 2019. Video is the most effective medium to keep audiences interested and engaged while quickly sharing information.

Organic content needs a boost

In early 2018, Facebook announced changes to its algorithm which would decrease the amount of organic reach received by business Pages. While Facebook claimed the change was made to make the platform a more personal space for friends and family, many industry professionals believe the hit on organic reach was made to increase ad expenditures. Like it or not, Facebook’s atmosphere is hostile toward business posts and, if brands want to flourish, they’ll have to pay.

Bright Colors, Bold Designs

Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2018 by Kate

In general, it appears that 2018 will be the year of vibrant and colorful design. From typography to photography, the general trend is for brighter, bolder layouts and colors. Last year, in contrast, we saw a resurgence in vintage trends, nostalgic muted tones and minimalism. According to leading design blog “99 Designs” and “Venngage,” popular looks will be specialized and unique. To accomplish out-of-the-box design, photo manipulation, lettering, and illustration will become popular—alone and combined—to make brands stand out among their competitors.

Pilch & Barnet has utilized photo manipulation most recently for some of our clients, placing a map pattern over photos on a website and placing selective photo cutouts over logos on visitor guides. Another example of photo manipulation is on the team member photos on the Pilch & Barnet website.

Link Friday: The Safe Topics to Discuss During the Holidays Edition

Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 by Kate

At Pilch & Barnet, we love travel and we love marketing. But we also love being helpful. So this holiday season, we thought we’d provide you with a list of interesting holiday fun facts you can discuss at the dinner table, in lieu of politics, religion, climate change, or you know, anything else that could start a fistfight.

Did you know…

  • A traditional Christmas dinner in Japan is Kentucky Fried Chicken? It is, of course, the result of a clever marketing campaign designed to promote the restaurant when it opened there in 1970.
  • Another fun marketing ploy – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! He came to life in a promotional booklet given out to kids visiting Santa at Montgomery Ward in 1939! (Bonus fun fact – the author considered Rollo and Reginald as names before settling on Rudolph!)
  • One of the first commercially sold artificial Christmas trees was made from toilet brush bristles – it was less flammable and better to hold heavy decorations than its predecessors – trees made from twine or goose feathers dyed green. (Extra points if you mention that Romans are currently angry over the city’s official Christmas tree looking like a sickly toilet brush that happened to cost $57K.)
  • Jingle Bells is actually a Thanksgiving song. The songwriter wrote it for a Thanksgiving performance of a Sunday School class in 1850, but it was so popular, they brought it back for Christmas. (Bonus if you throw in that it’s really about one-horse open-sleigh street races held in Massachusetts and was written in a bar!)
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas cost just $76,000 to produce back in 1965 (the modern day equivalent of $590K). Compare that to the 2015 Peanuts Movie which cost $99 MILLION.
  • And if all else fails, bring in Alexa. The Amazon device can play Christmas music, recite “The Night Before Christmas” in its entirety, play Christmas sounds and give you even more fun holiday trivia to keep your gathering, above all else, civil.

Happy holidays!

Two easy ways to build your brand on Snapchat (without a brand account!)

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Kate

There’s no denying Snapchat is a powerhouse in social media, but for brands, the idea of having a constant presence on the platform can feel daunting, even overwhelming. But, good news! Your brand can reach people on Snapchat, without having to commit to an account. Here’s how.

Geofilters

No doubt Snapchat users love their lenses (you know, the graphics that give you puppy ears or make you look like you’re barfing rainbows?), but creating one takes a professional designer and they start at around $100,000!

Instead, try a geofilter. When users take a photo or video, they can swipe within the app to see a series of available filters. What users see depends on where they are, what day it is, etc. Some make note of the city or neighborhood the user is in, but others are reserved especially for events.

They’re relatively easy to design (Snapchat has its own design tool you can use, or you can create your own with their specifications), then you choose the time you want the filter to be available, and exactly which area you want it to be shown in, all for an extremely reasonable cost! A geofilter for an event like a football game, a fair, or concert that lasts a couple of hours in a relatively confined space can easily cost under $100.

Custom Snapcodes

If you do any print material, custom Snapcodes are an easy way to get Snapchat users to your website. Users take a photo of your code using the Snapchat app, then are immediately directed to the site of your choosing.

Creating one yourself takes just a few seconds. The Snapcode is e-mailed to you and can be incorporated into posters and signs. It’s especially helpful if you’ve got a longer or more complicated web address, or if people won’t be able to spend much time engaging with your material.

Need advice?

Need more help navigating Snapchat? Contact us here.

Facebook Feed Changes – Don’t Panic Yet

Posted on Thursday, October 26, 2017 by Kate

Facebook Feed Changes – Don’t Panic Yet

You might’ve heard that Facebook is beta testing a news feed that completely eliminates content from brand pages. Then you probably felt a little ill. So do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Bad news? Ok. It is true that Facebook is testing two separate news feeds – one for content from friends and family and one with content from brand pages. The good news is, unless you live or market heavily in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala or Cambodia, you’re not likely to be affected by these changes. Those are the only six countries currently involved in the testing and Facebook says they have no plans to roll it out globally.

If we head down the rabbit hole of despair a bit further, it’s discouraging to hear that since the test launched in Slovakia, that country’s 60 largest pages are seeing four times fewer interactions. That said, take heart, Facebook is just doing what it always does – trying to optimize and create the best experience for its users.

What about the “Explore Feed?”

So, is the “Explore Feed” unveiled in the U.S. just a pre-cursor for this insanity? Deep breaths. No. Explore is an ad-free news feed made up solely of brand pages content (including brands you don’t follow), but it is not going to be the only place you can see brand posts. It’s merely a warehouse for articles, videos and photos customized for each user based on what Facebook thinks you might find interesting. Just another way to bring you shareable stuff.

The only thing you can be sure of is change

One thing we know for sure – Facebook never stays static for long. Just a few years ago, your brand posts were reaching 17% of your fans organically. On average, that’s down to 2% now. But here at Pilch & Barnet, we’ve been utilizing Facebook ads to improve reach and engagement for years now, so our clients haven’t felt the painful sting of Facebook’s brand-punishing algorithm. In fact, despite Facebook’s best efforts to keep brands down, our clients’ Facebook pages are growing strong.

We can help

Wish your social media accounts were doing better? Let us help. Find out about all the services we offer here.

Link Friday: The 2017 Fall Travel Edition

Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017 by Kate

Fall is what we travel folks like to call a shoulder season. For those of you not in the know, shoulder season = good deals.

One of the Best Places to Work in Madison!

Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Kate

We’re thrilled to announce we were named one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Madison by Madison Magazine!

We’re especially grateful because this honor comes as a result of the good words spoken about Pilch & Barnet by our own employees! We value the people who choose to share their time and talents with us and do our best to treat them well. We know that the respect and appreciation we show them reflects in the great work they do for our clients.

If you’re interested in seeing what Pilch & Barnet can do for you, call us today!

Link Friday: The Social Media & Hurricane Harvey Edition

Posted on Friday, September 1, 2017 by Kate

Hurricane Harvey is being dubbed the United States’ “First Social Media Storm.” Let’s take a look at the role social media has played in this chapter of history.

  • Facebook users in the path of Harvey were able to mark themselves as “safe” to ease the minds of far-away family members.
  • BuzzFeed worked to compile a list of hoaxes spreading online to warn people of potential scams and fake news.
  • Victims desperately in need of rescue turned to social media when local 911 operations were unavailable.
  • People who had businesses or homes unaffected by the storm used the platforms to offer shelter.
  • Now, pet owners are reuniting with their furry friends thanks to social networking.
  • One of the coolest ways social media helped during the disaster was by raising money. Kudos to Houstan Texans defensive end (and former Badger!) J.J. Watt for kicking off an online fundraiser that has since raised more than $14 million for relief efforts!