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.

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!

Link Friday: The 2017 Fall Shoulder Season Edition

Posted on Friday, August 18, 2017 by Kate

Like it or not (I do not), summer is winding down. The days are getting shorter and it won’t be long before we feel that familiar nip in the air. Pumpkin spice is coming. But good news, lovers of travel – so is shoulder season!

  • Shoulder what? Shoulder season is the time between the high season and the low season for travel destinations. Think spring and fall.
  • Obviously, shoulder season travel can present a few challenges. You know, like hurricanes. But thoughtful planning around the few drawbacks it might present can yield some high returns – like big time travel deals.
  • Other cool perks of shoulder season vacations? Fewer people (did I mention I hate crowds?). Way fewer people. And cooler weather. Even food is cheaper!
  • Check out these awesome destinations that are way more affordable in the shoulder season.

The Current State of Social Media Networks

Posted on Thursday, July 27, 2017 by Kate

A recent survey of nearly 6,000 marketers worldwide has yielded some interesting results about the state of social media marketing we want to pass along.

In 2017, more of the marketers surveyed are using Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat than they were last year. However, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest use declined 8%, 11% and 10% respectively. That’s not to say those platforms aren’t still important. We firmly believe that any social media network you can regularly maintain well is a beneficial one.

Also of note, marketers continued to overwhelmingly rank Facebook as their most important social media platform and the numbers were even higher among B2C marketers. Facebook remains king of the social networks!

The two top benefits of social media marketing survey takers listed were increased exposure (88% said this) and increased traffic (78% agreed). Improved sales was actually the benefit ranked last at 52%, but to be fair, that’s a pretty tricky conversion to measure for most businesses. So in all likelihood, sales are improving, companies just lack the tools needed to measure it.

As for content, marketers said visual images were the most important type of content they shared. For the future, 75% of them planned to increase their use of videos and 61% said they wanted to incorporate more live video. Consequently, video was also the number one content form those surveyed said they wanted to learn more about. Virtual reality and 360-degree video came in close behind.

Pilch & Barnet has been encouraging our clients to increase their use of video for years now, ahead of the current trend. Want to stay a step above your competition? Let Pilch & Barnet help!

Link Friday: The 2017 Fourth of July Edition

Posted on Friday, June 23, 2017 by Kate

A record 44 million Americans are ready to get away this Fourth of July!

  • According to AAA, that number is almost 3% more than last year. Cheaper gas, lower rental car rates and more affordable airfare all appear to be in play.
  • If you’re looking for the finest fireworks, set your GPS to the east coast where four of the ten biggest and brightest fireworks shows can be found.
  • If you’re looking for the most affordable getaways, check out these lesser traveled hotspots for the Fourth.
  • For the best parties, it looks like the East Coast wins again, but fear not, fellow Midwesterners, the coasties don’t get to have all the fun. Chicago made the rankings too.
  • And if, by chance, you’re not looking to travel at all, our national holiday will still profit your wallet. It’s the best time of year for shopping on a long list of items.

Link Friday: The 2017 Road Trip Edition

Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2017 by Kate

Buckle up – it’s time for a summer road trip!

  • According to AAA, more Americans will take a road trip this summer than last and the travel outlook for the summer looks strong.
  • Travel + Leisure mapped out some of the country’s very best road trips from sea to shining sea, here.
  • Those are pretty scenic, but maybe even more fun are these roadies based on cult classic TV shows like Twin Peaks and X Files.
  • Or you could plan your route around the some of the world’s most specific art museums like the Smiley Face Museum in New York City or the Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio.
  • Road trips can teach you a lot of things – like how to become an expert, Tetris-style car packer or exactly how many miles you can drive after that low fuel light goes on – but it can also teach you a few really important things about marketing.