You see them every time you open a social media app. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a slew of others are all hoping to get the attention of the user. For several months advertisers have been testing various ad formats measuring their effectiveness. These range from standard (static) ads, animated gifs to videos. Without reading further, which format would you guess has the most impact and effectiveness? Before you read further, take a guess. Ok, let’s explore the results and see if your guess is in line with the survey.

A recent survey conducted by KARGO and MediaScience tested the three formats–standard, animated (gifs) and video to learn how consumers reacted to these different formats by gauging the fixation times and follow-up looks. At first you might not be surprised that videos do have a high “user look”, but in reality, animated ranked higher in all categories surveyed. The categories were: Users Looked At, Seconds Looked, Fixations, and Follow-Up Looks.

My guess is the animated gifs, or short animations are pleasing (most of the time) and do not take long to view. On the other hand, while videos were gaining popularity last year, and they still are a powerful way to tell a story, they become too long taking away our precious time to see other social media posts, etc. Like all survey’s, it will depend on the subject matter. For example if you are into auto racing, or fashion design, food preparation/recipes you might watch an entire video because of your interests. But then again, if you are in a hurry, you might say to yourself “I’ll go back and watch it later”…well that usually doesn’t happen.

But don’t discount the standard or video formats. The reason, all three formats when tested in the survey were close in percentages in the different categories. For example, when users were asked to “recall” the brands they saw, 42% remembered the animated format while 33% remembered the videos and 32% the standard. Even in the “Users Looked At” category this is how they ranked.

• Standard 64%
• Animated 74%
• Video 54%

And to make this more interesting, 18% of those surveyed thought videos were annoying, yet felt (37%) it was entertaining, compared to animated with 9% saying annoying and 14% said it was entertaining. As we get deeper into the study we see videos ranked higher in “creative” 54% vs 27% for animated. So who gets the “Golden Award”? Ask a creative and they say they do, ask a marketer and they want to take the credit. No matter what you do, the bottom line is to use some form of movement in your format. Why? Because it will get the attention of the user and if your creative is good, it just might get them to enjoy what they see and click on that link to learn more about your product or service.

When your company is serious about getting results, give George Carson a call. He knows how to #MakeGreatThingsHappen.

Yes, even the “big” dominant media like Google recognize when it’s time to let go.
Hard to believe that it was only 7 years ago when Google decided to challenge all the social networking sites by launching its Google+.

If you are still active with Google+ you will have a few months to make your last postings before the social network is closed down. Google claims it will close in August 2019, but to be safe, I recommend quitting sooner than later.

So why did this giant company decide to call it quits? Several reasons. For one, Google+ had issues with its privacy bug. Hundreds of thousands of users had their data exposed to third-party developers back in March. But like Facebook, Google would not report the problem immediately because they didn’t want to bring attention to any regulatory scrutiny that could damage their reputation.

If you want to believe Google’s reason, they saw a big drop in usage and engagement, saying, and I quote “90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds”. Yeah, that’s another good reason!

From various sources I’ve read, it is safe to say that Google+ and +1 buttons will have no impact on rankings going forward. I hope that means Google Search will no longer look to see if your business was an active user and we can finally be ranked by our social networking, postings, podcasts, backlinks, etc.

Another reason you should feel ok, Google has admitted that today they do not use personalization in search. What that says is Google+ would show your personal assets, photos, emails, etc. that were based on your Google+ account directly in the search results. If you recall, Google suggested that searchers take their social conversations to Google+. It was a way Google was trying to drive more conversations to their social network.

With all the pressure Google put on social network users to post on their network, the more people rejected being told they had to do this or their rankings could be affected. Some businesses caved in, others chose to not be bullied. Another example you might remember. Google My Business. That name was replaced by Google Places, which later was replaced by Google+. Do you see how Google was trying to manipulate us?

Maybe this should be a lesson that all businesses can learn from. Don’t force something to work when the market isn’t buying your product or service. Look around and see how to better serve customers than make them want what you offer.

Get a “Tune-Up” of your social networks to see how they can be more effective for your business. Give George Carson a call.

Studies have proven that certain colors affect how we react to daily things in life.

This is especially true in business. For decades companies have been using color to make your emotions feel good or sad about something. We see this in all industries–your doctors office, a lawyers office, retail stores, food/grocery stores, movies and even your bedroom. We all buy products off the shelf because they have a certain appeal to your emotions, and hopefully you wanted that product!

Color plays a big part in our lives and it can have a strong influence on your emotions. For example, why do many companies use “blue” for their company logo? According to the chart below, and from research, it depicts TRUST, STRENGTH and someone being DEPENDABLE. And in a doctors office you would see soft blue colors and greens to calm a person so they don’t feel anxious, or worried. Law firms are known to use green for the same reasons.

If your company is thinking about re-painting the interior, look closely at the “Emotion Guide” and ask yourself, how do I want my customers to see us–Strong, Bold, Creative, or Optimistic. You could actually control (to a point that is) an environment when you have customers enter a room. Many companies will paint each room a different color to create the mood/emotion they want their customers to be in when discussing business.

I hope this Emotion Guide helps you in your business. I know I’m still trying to figure out if a striped wall using red with a warm yellow will give the impression of a Bold and Optimistic company. Your thoughts?

Colors that have an Impact!

Colors that have an Impact!

  • November 22, 2016
  • Posted by George Carson at 5:23 PM
  • Comments Off on What colors will change your emotions?
  • General

Boy, that’s a great question. Too often we find ourselves too busy or cannot find anyone at the company to take on this important responsibility. The answer is at least once per quarter–that refers to the website, not blogs. Even if you think your blog is enough, it isn’t.

You might think updating your company website is a waste of time and a lot of work, and maybe overkill to do this every quarter. But keep in mind, it is the “content” of your website with the proper back-links that help keep your rankings at the top of all search engines. You don’t need to change or update every page each time. I’m sure if you review your site every quarter, you will see that somethings can be improved and updated. It’s important to keep the site fresh. For example, you might be offering your products or services in a local or regional area, like Orange County. Updating this information will attract those businesses wanting to know who in their area offers the products/services that you do. Clients/customers will visit more often when you maintain the site with new content. That’s one reason why companies have blog pages within their website. But that alone isn’t enough to give the SEO’s a reason to rank your site higher.

Sometimes it’s just changing some photos to keep the pages fresh. One other thing, make sure that you title your photos. This helps the SEO’s “see” your content and that can help your rankings as well.

Publicity Orange CountyJust recently we realized it was time for us to update our own site. So we reviewed what our agency has been doing these past few years and decided to change the entire site–the look, navigation and update the services we offer. Even though we have been known as the publicity agency in Orange County, we wanted to remind those outside the area we have done national programs as well. So if you haven’t taken the time to look at your site, maybe it’s time to re-think the look and feel, or just update the photos of the staff.

Need help in designing or developing a new website? Give us a call for a no non-sense FREE evaluation of what it will take to “Get You Noticed”. Call George Carson today at 949-477-9400, or visit our new website for additional information: http://www.carsonmarketinginc.com

instagram

Instagram

Social media has become complex and not easy to attract customers. In just a few short years we have over a dozen ways to communicate online. And just like any media, you need to know the audience and why they are using that form of communication. Your PR Marketing Strategy should outline the different social media and how they function.

Instagram is one of the more popular social media. So businesses are trying to lure customers through Instagram, but many are finding it is not working. Why? Because what works for one media isn’t the same for all. You run a different campaign for Facebook than you would for LinkedIn, or Twitter. You need to understand why consumers use a particular social media, and then after you figure that out can you create a successful campaign.

Ok, so let’s discuss why your campaign in Instagram is a flop and how to correct the problem.

I came across an article by Blaise Lacey, senior content strategist at Bitly, who explains his 7 reasons why your ads aren’t working in Instagram. To read his complete article click here. This is a short summary of what he explained.

1- The ad looks too professional. He makes a great point saying that Instagram is like YouTube, it consists of user-generated content. Businesses, and ad agencies try to create clean, white looking ads that turn off Instagram users.
2. Your ad doesn’t tell a story. Most ads have a flashy logo, a brand name, or catchy tagline and a picture. These give the impression of a “banner ad.”
3. Loud call-outs & banners. People go to these social media apps for entertainment, to connect with friends and learn. Keep in mind, mobile screens are smaller than a monitor, so your ad could look like a big banner, or pop-up ad.
4. You feature shadowy and/or generic people. If you are trying to create compelling images, don’t use “stock photos” or something that could look like a stock photo.
5. Your product is just sitting there. Show your product in use, put it in context of what your product relates to.
6. Too much text. This is one I strongly agree with Blaise. He says “Text is a natural enemy of the mobile user.”
7- You’re not trying video. You are limited to 60-seconds, make it entertaining and show your product in use.

As you can see, Instagram is not like the other social media, and neither should you treat all the other social media the same. Learn why your customers use them and then create the campaign for each. That’s how to be successful.

If your PR Marketing Strategy campaign needs help, give George Carson a call for a FREE non-nonsense review of your campaign. 949-477-9400.

 

Many of the social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are still useful media. And business networks like LinkedIn are very powerful, if you know how to use the tools effectively. Are you experiencing “APP Overload?” Confused what is the best platform to use in your pr marketing strategies campaign? You’re not alone.

Vine App

Vine App

It hasn’t been 2 years since marketers and advertisers were finally understanding how to use them in social media marketing, and now we need to learn all over again how to reach targeted customers. Let me explain. These social media platforms I mentioned are continually expanding their capabilities to be more productive. One in particular is Twitter. Two years ago they created a new app called Vine. The purpose of Vine was to give marketers, like Coco Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, Target and publicity firms a way to post short videos (6 seconds in length). It was great for the first 18 months. Then competition from other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube created their versions of short video formats marketers could use. But not all is lost. Still today, Vine has about 4% of all videos posted. This can be an effective platform for PR Clients when combined with others.

Allison Stern, founder at Tubular Labs commented about the decline-using Vine saying, “I assume that brands are having this platform fatigue”. I think that best describes what is currently happening with this app overload.

If you want to post something that is happening now, then you need to look at Periscope. That’s another Twitter app, which has become popular because it is a live video streaming app. They have a few cool features. When you tap the video (screen) it sends little “hearts” across the screen. It is their way of acknowledging, “likes” to compete with Facebook. Originally Periscope was developed in 2014 by another company and named it Bounty. Then in February 2015 Twitter saw the value and purchased the app, renamed it Periscope. To understand how fast this app became a hit, in less than 6 months of its release, Periscope had 10 million accounts.

So before you abandon any of your social media apps, just keep posting videos on all platforms, and write short Tweets, blogs and keep your brand in front of customers through all the different social media platforms, today and whatever develops tomorrow. Need help getting your social media campaign going, if so, call George Carson at 949-477-9400.

Miss CA 2015

Miss CA 2015

Steve Garvey

Steve Garvey–LA Dodgers

Eric Dickerson

Eric Dickerson, NFL Hall of Famer

As pr professionals we are given the task of promoting a pr clients event, but then sometimes asked how can we get more people to attend the event from previous years. This year we worked on a local RV Show that is sponsored by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. As in the past few years working with this consumer event, we looked at having some sports legends meet and greet visitors. Knowing that many RVers enjoy different sports, and a lot of them will park their RV at the stadiums the night before, we decided to bring some of the greats in Baseball and Football. Our local publicity plan for the 63rd RVIA California RV Show included having the opening weekend (Oct.9) of the 10-day be kicked off with Miss California USA doing the opening. Then on Saturday and Sunday we had Steve Garvey (LA Dodgers), Jim Abbott (Angels) with sports host Roger Lodge, and an NFL Hall Famer, Eric Dickerson draw a large crowd for the first three days. Also, we had lots of media cover the event a couple of days prior to the opening. This week we had other media attend that included a Chinese TV station. The coming weekend we are having another local TV station plus two radio stations (including Vic the Brick) doing live broadcast. And to make the final weekend of the show be successful, we have Rick Harrison (TV reality star on Pawn Stars) do a meet and greet. We did keep the focus on the introduction of the 2016 model RVs from over 45 manufacturers so visitors who attended the show would know what new features they can expect to see at the show. The sports legends gave people another reason to see their favorite athlete while shopping for their new RV.

There are many ways to give some “punch” to an event, and if you understand the audience that will be attending, it is best to tie-in something that will attract them to the show. Publicity is more than sending out press releases, or having a press conference, we look at publicity as a means to communicate a message to a client’s customer. Keeping this in mind should open your creative juices to find that “hook” to give your next event the punch it needs.

If your company is planning an event, give George Carson a call. There’s a good chance you will be pleased to see what he can do to make it more exciting and eventful for your customers. Call him at 949-477-9400

When the economy took a nose-dive a few years ago, it affected your business as well. Some of you may have witnessed the closings of divisions, departments, and cutbacks on your services/products. If you were some of the few to survive this period, today you should be seeing an improvement. Now is the time to do an evaluation of your business. Maybe the earlier cutbacks have actually improved your overall operation. But how do you know if that actually made a positive difference? There are several methods, and formulas available to “do the math.” One in particular is a “short form” available at MSN Money. The site has a simplified calculation you can do. This shouldn’t be your final approach to see how the company stands, but it will give you a chance to begin an evaluation process for your business.

business valuation

business valuation

So the question is: How do you increase the value of your company? Besides increasing sales, which is not an easy task, you should consider doing things that are in your control. One suggestion is to create an awareness campaign about your company. People and other businesses like to work with companies that “appear” to be successful. Keeping your company name in front of your potential and current customers will improve your brand and it could generate more sales.

An awareness campaign can be as simple as a series of press releases. To really get the awareness going, I recommend including a community program. Look for events that are in your area and see how you could be involved. It doesn’t always cost money to become a sponsor, or to participate in a local, or regional event. Maybe your company has a product(s) or services that the event could use in exchange for paying to become a sponsor. Use this opportunity to let the media (press) know about your activity. If you have an in-house publicity person, (or an outside pr firm) be sure they know of the company’s involvement. If the event warrants, hold a press conference and be visible at the event. Don’t just add your logo as part of the signage. Take an active role and get your employees to participate at the event. If your business is in a position to make a donation to a charity, this too is newsworthy. These are a few suggestions to get more visibility.
It is important to not do a one-shot announcement, or press release. Having an on-going campaign is important. This will establish your company as being solid. Reporters will take you more seriously when they see consistent activity.

Before jumping into an awareness campaign, develop a plan. This will be your guide. It can and will probably change as you become more active. That’s fine. Be sure to consult with your publicity staff or pr firm as things develop so that you continue on the path outlined in your overall plan.

Are you a person or company that does a lot of postings? Are you aware that there are best times and worst times to post content? If not, read on. Why, because your pr marketing strategy can be a success or failure if you don’t know when your followers are interested in their social media. So make sure your followers/readers are seeing your posts, otherwise you are wasting your time.

I came across this great article and graphics from Richard Brownell, so thanks to Richard for making this simple to understand. Ok, lets start with the more staple social media. That would be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are the more popular and better know social media for businesses. Below is a chart that illustrates what days of the week and times of the day that you should be posting, and when not to.

Social media do's and don'ts

When to post on social media

On Facebook, which is one of the most frequented social media sites, you should be active between 1pm- 4pm and the best day/time of the week is Wednesdays at 3 pm. Avoid weekends before 8 am and after 8 pm. I would stay away for weekends if you are a business, unless you have a retail store that is open on weekends. Twitter has a great readership Mondays-Thursdays from 1 pm – 3 pm. Almost the same time as Facebook followers. The peak time is Monday-Thursday from 9 am til 3 pm. Twitter readers move on to other things after 8 pm everyday and on Friday, so avoid any tweets after 3 pm. Probably they’re off to a party or fun weekend stuff. Now let’s look at LinkedIn. Seems Tuesdays-Thursdays are popular and the best times for the day are noon and again at 5 pm-6 pm. Most business people are not active Monday and Friday from 10pm-6am. Hey you gotta sleep sometime!

Other social media like Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ have a different schedule that people use. For example Pinterest has heavy viewing on Saturday mornings (well, that does make sense) and the worst time is during work hours. Now Google+ is different with their community of followers. Everyday between 9 am-10 am (short window isn’t it) is the best time and Wednesdays at 9 am is peak times. But then again, similar to Twitter, Google+ is for short messages. You want to know quickly what’s happening and move on.

So there you have it. A quick insight on when to post and not post on your social media accounts. If you are developing a pr marketing strategy for the next season, keep these times and days handy so your social media campaign will have a greater impact. If you want more insights, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400. He’s probably writing a post right now, but I’m sure he’ll take your call.

Handling your company publicity

Know what to do before it happens

Although you might believe this will never happen to you, I’m sure Donald Sterling and Brian Williams had that same thought until it happened to them.

There are a few basic things you can do now to prepare for a crisis situation with your company, or you personally. Having a  PR Marketing Strategy isn’t enough to prepare you for a negative situation. These four steps are designed to get you to think and are a good basis to create your crisis plan.

1-IDENTIFY THREATS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN
Think of any possible threats you or your company may face. It is impossible to predict if someone says a racial slur, or make up a news story, it is still important to have a proactive strategy when it comes to a crisis management situation.

Once you have identified these threats, develop a response matrix for each and every potential threat you listed. The worksheet should have strategies to help minimize damage and identify any key personnel who will develop and deliver the response to the media. It is ok to have a publicity person, but you or someone you assign should be the primary contact, not a pr person.

2-HAVE PREPARED BLANKET STATEMENTS
This is the time to get an attorney involved. If your company has an attorney, discuss with your legal counsel the statements written to get their approval. Make it easy on yourself; develop each potential situation with a statement that has easy-to-fill-in placeholders. When a crisis happens, this will allow you to be responsive quickly to the media. Plus, it will tell the media you are willing to address the situation vs hiding from it.

3-BE HONEST
Ok, I did say that step # 1 was probably one of the most difficult, but this might be as difficult if you are a person who doesn’t like to take blame, or always points the finger at other people. When confronted by the media, be straightforward and remember these 5 NEVERS:

• Never Lie
• Never Speculate
• Never Lose Your Temper or Swear
• Never Say “No Comment”
• Never Lose Eye Contact

4-KEEP YOUR MEDIA RESPONSES CONCISE
Are you a “talker?” Do you not know when to stop speaking because you want to make sure your point is

Have a crisis plan

Prepare for negative publicity

noticed? It’s time to break those habits and listen closely if so. Think in short 30-second sound bites. Have your three most important messages memorized. Don’t try to explain your entire side of the story. Use carefully worded messages when speaking to the media. It is ok to pause and collect your thoughts before talking.

Being prepared can minimize any negative impact or unfavorable situation and keep you from humiliating yourself or your company. To learn more about preparing for a pr crisis situation in your company, give George Carson a call, before it’s too late!