Tagged: marketing

Lights, Camera, Action: Video Conversions in 2021

The game has changed. Written material is on its way out and its replacement? Video content. With the numbers on its side, it’s no surprise people prefer this fresher form of content over its older, outdated counterpart. Keep reading to see why and how you can take advantage of this movement before it’s too late.


Why such a shift to video?
So what’s so great about video content? Well, the reasoning has to do with its ability to captivate an audience on two playing fields. Where text only has the ability to capture our attention via visuals and is forced to rely heavily on punctuation, word choice and visual cues to convey a message, video has the ability to appeal both visually and auditorily. Although adding sound and movement may seem like a minor shift, according to Medium, an average viewer is able to remember 95% of a message when it is watched, whereas only 10% when read. This huge margin of retention rate plays a significant role in this shift to video, but it isn’t the only reason.
According to a study shared on Wyzowl, the average attention span of an individual has significantly dropped. What was once 15 seconds has now dwindled down to a measly 8.25. Dwindling attention spans have been recognized already by ad agencies across the world causing 77% of them to view video ads as an essential business moving forward into this digital era. As new technologies emerge, the more options advertisers will have when it comes to video advertising.


How can I apply this?
Video campaigns aren’t going anywhere, so how can you effectively apply them to your business? There are many platforms where video campaigns can be utilized, but this list highlights the best of the best and goes over ways to truly optimize both your campaign and your viewer’s experience.

YouTube
With 2.3 billion users per month and $19.7 billion in revenue in 2020, according to BusinessOfApps, Youtube is the front runner of this evolving marketing tactic. Both creating original content for YouTube and running video advertisements are effective ways to expand your consumer reach and brand awareness via video campaigns.

A. Original Content – Creating original content is already a difficult enough task for most, however, properly optimizing your content is another beast. Detailed below is a list of tactics you can use to take full advantage of what YouTube has to offer in regard to future video campaigns.

a. Promote Interaction – At the end of each video invoke the viewer to do something. A simple “Click here to learn more” hyperlink can do the trick and, depending on your goal, can be adapted to virtually anything. Notifications, such as cards, should also be used throughout the video to promote interaction as
well as hold viewers’ attention.


b. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals – One of the key components to optimizing your YouTube
videos is to have an eye-catching thumbnail. According to a study done by BestSeoCompanies, “88% of thumbnails


c. Promote Subscriptions – Obviously the more subscribers you obtain the better, so simply reminding viewers at the end of your videos to subscribe, and supplying a hyperlink to do so, creates the opportunity to increase your following.


d. Partner Up – Collaboration promotes a synergistic outcome for both parties and allows new horizons to be introduced via new viewers. Partnering with companies or individuals with similar personalities and audiences leads to the best outcomes for both parties.


B. Advertisements – YouTube offers a wide selection of ads for advertisers to choose from. Each ad choice depends on the budget and goal of the advertisement so it’s important to consider how you want to reach and impact viewers.
in 2020 were colorful and averaged more views than thumbnails with a more
minimalist color scheme.”


a. Skippable In-Stream Ads (TrueView Ads) – Because they can be skipped, it’s critical these ads grab and hold the viewer’s attention while still informing them about your product or service. These ads can vary in length from as short as 12 seconds to as long as 3 minutes. Payment for the ad only occurs if the viewer interacts with it or watches more than 30 seconds of it.


b. Un-skippable In-Stream Ads (Pre-Roll Ads) – Up to 15 seconds long, these advertisements offer a great way to quickly promote a brand. A call to action is important in order to generate more leads to a website. Bumper ads are another form of un-skippable in-stream ads that are six seconds long and could leave viewers interested in learning more.


c. Video Ad Sequencing – This more extensive type of ad allows advertisers to tell a story through a series of videos strung throughout one or multiple YouTube videos. This type of storytelling often leads to more engagement from the viewer. According to AdPresso, this type of advertisement has been shown to produce a 107% higher ad recall and a 134% higher purchase intent when compared to the other types of ads.


d. Youtube Ad Extensions – Ad extensions offer a call to action, usually in the form of a “Learn More” banner alongside a video ad. By implementing this, you offer a simple way for the viewer to learn more about your product or service. This type of ad generally leads to more interaction from viewers due to its simplicity.

TikTok
analyzed from the most popular videosDespite its relatively new conception, TikTok has become one of the most regularly used and visited social networks of this generation. With over 1 billion active users per month, according to WallroomMedia, TikTok is also one of the fastest-growing social channels this decade. Brands on TikTok can easily blend in with every other creator on the app which, in turn, helps with brand exposure. Videos highlighting important elements of an organization’s product/service while remaining consistent with trends on TikTok are the most effective in creating exposure.

Instagram Reels
Similar to that of TikTok, Instagram Reels can be used to create a variety of content strategies. By properly applying Instagram Reels, a brand has the ability to diversify its Instagram posts, leading to not only more impressions, but new ones, expanding brand awareness. IG Reels can be used as a “bridge” to your Instagram profile, ultimately leading a potential consumer to your homepage.

Twitter
With a video length limit of 2 minutes and 20 seconds and a daily user base of 166 million, according to Hootsuite, the proper application of Twitter’s video capability has the potential to greatly increase brand awareness. Twitter’s latest update also included the addition of “Fleets.” Similar to that of both TikTok and Instagram Reels, Fleets allows the user to post short videos that are then placed at the top of your follower’s feed. This addition can be used to highlight important dates, upcoming releases or sneak peeks in regards to your brand.

Returning Back to the Office

By: Derek Caswell
Over the past few years many of the normalacies in life have changed.  Masks, for example, are now a normal fashion accessory, and having temperatures being taken as we enter buildings is now a part of our morning routines.  However, there is one thing that has been significantly impacted due to the COVID outbreak, and that is where we do our work.  

Many people across the world have had their daily lives changed. In many cases, the commute to work or school is now a simple walk to the kitchen to start our morning coffee!  People have been working from home for about a year and half now and, from what I’ve seen online, have enjoyed the change.  

However, work routines are starting to go back to what they were before. Thankfully, through vaccinations and the hard work being done in the medical field we seem to be moving back to the “normal” lifestyle.  

People online are expressing their dislike of having to go back to working in an office.  Many of them seem to really enjoy working remotely and having the luxury of not having to be in an office.  Many Gen Z/Millennials who entered the workforce are making jokes about finding a new job after receiving the email about returning to the office.  According to bloomberg.com, when surveying around 1,000 adults nearly 40% of them said they would consider resigning if they’re supervisors weren’t flexible about working remotely.  When concentrating those results to include just Gen Z/Millennials, the number jumps to nearly 50%. 

As someone who has gotten used to doing a lot of work from home, I definitely understand the struggle.  There’s just something special about waking up ten minutes before a meeting and logging in while sipping your morning coffee on your couch.  At first, it did feel a little weird to be inside one building all day instead of going to school/meeting in person.  Sometimes I wonder why we even had to go in person in the first place.  Need to have a group meeting? Great, let’s all hop on a call in 10 minutes and discuss everything.  You can stay in your pajamas while watching the newest episode of “Love Island” from last night.  

Now, I have to wake up earlier, think about an outfit, and make sure I have enough time to get to my destination.  This all sounds ridiculous right?  Who knew it would take a pandemic to make people appreciate the small things in life.  But, eventually routines will return to normal again and we will have to go back to working in person full time.  I’m curious as to how this time will affect “office” culture with what is or isn’t allowed.  With graduation in just a couple of months, I’m excited to enter a world that is somewhere in between.  It will make the first couple of years interesting to say the least.

Differentiating Public Relations from Similar Industries

By: Rebeka Dickerson

Public relations is often confused by the general public with many other industries, but specifically marketing and advertising. The three are so similar that they are even commonly integrated these days. And then there is journalism which is frequently mentioned in the PR world as well. So, to help provide a better understanding of these four important communication mediums, I am providing some information below about what makes each unique. 

Public Relations

Public relations is all about awareness and reputation. Awareness and reputation can in turn help a company sell products or become successful. PR deals with the long game; keeping customers coming back and obtaining new loyal customers. 

An example of PR is the #IceBucketChallenge. The 2014 viral campaign raised awareness for ALS by inspiring people to post videos of themselves being drenched by a bucket of ice water and/or donating for ALS research. Many celebrities participated and over $115 million dollars was raised for the ALS Association.  

Marketing

Marketing is a technique for stimulating a demand for a specific product or service. The main goals are to make a product or service widely known and to increase sales. The transaction of something in the moment matters more than what will happen with the company in two or three years. Professionals in this industry often refer to product, price, place, and promotion as the four Ps of marketing needed to sell goods or services. 

An example of marketing is Spotify and how it is is marketed differently than other music applications. Spotify assists users in finding music they have never heard before. Users can click any category of music and explore a multitude of artists. Spotify also sorts music options by music someone may want to workout to, sleep to, or even play video games to. 

Advertising

Advertising is a paid message. It is a part of marketing (promotion). It can also be part of a public relations campaign. An advertisement could be a television commercial, but it could also be a print ad,  digital ad, radio ad, billboard, and so on. 

Examples of companies that are known to continuously use ads to their advantage are Geico, Ford, and Nike. 

Journalism

While public relations has a target audience, journalism does (or should) not. Journalism’s purpose is to simply inform the general public in an objective way. A PR professional’s job is to advocate for a specific company or individual, while a journalist is traditionally meant to remain unbiased. 

Examples of Journalism can vary. The many types include broadcast, investigative, opinion, entertainment, political, and sports. 

A Couple Examples of Integration

  • Coca-Cola: 

As part of its brand awareness strategy, Coca-Cola has combined PR and journalism by utilizing storytelling on its website (https://www.coca-colacompany.com/). This is also known as brand journalism. Stories on the website detail how the company supports the community, how they promote diversity and inclusion, and how they help the environment.

  • Always:

The brand Always has an ongoing PR campaign #LikeAGirl, which encourages people to change the meaning of the phrase and how society views girls and women. A popular Super Bowl advertisement was created to promote the campaign in 2015 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_Ep0O5fWN4). 

So although similar, all four of these industries definitely have their own place. They each have their own distinct objectives. Yet they all work with the public in mind, and any of them can be combined strategically to create even greater success.

Put your pies in the window! A guide to inbound marketing

Image credit: modaweb.co.uk

Image credit: modaweb.co.uk

By Hank Kellerman

You’ve seen it in cartoons: A freshly baked pie is steaming hot and placed on the window sill to cool. The tantalizing aroma begins to drift around the house and finds a hungry character. With a quick flick of it’s cherry scented finger, the character slowly floats up a bit and begins to follow the wonderful smell.

Image credit: tvtropes.org

Image credit: tvtropes.org

Simply put, this is a great example of inbound marketing. In recent years there has been an explosion of inbound marketing across all types of businesses, but more specifically smaller businesses. Inbound marketing is the process of developing online content that is compelling, informative and fulfills your audience’s hunger for the product or services they want or need. Inbound marketing focuses on bringing customers to you versus having customers go out looking for them. This can be done in a multitude of ways, but some of the more common methods include blogs, social media discussions, forums and SEO optimization.

Before you jump head first into the rapid currents of inbound marketing, strap on some water wings and follow these guidelines for developing an inbound marketing strategy.

Develop Buyer Personas

How do you know and write for your audience? If you just write about topics without the proper research, you could fail to reach your desired audience. One tool that can help you create some excellent audience-specific content are your buyer personas. Buyer personas provide the inside scoop about what your customers are like. They can tell you numerous demographic and psychographic details such as their age, income, hobbies, day-to-day activities and more. Developing buyer personas enables you to accurately create specialized online content to address questions and topics focused to your customers.

Image credit: kccommunications.com

Image credit: kccommunications.com

SEO and Keywords

Most people know it is extremely difficult to show up on the front page of Google. Google uses digital spiders to crawl across the Internet and search for the most relevant content on that matches the needs of the search query. To get on the front page, your content must be optimized for search engines by using keywords.

There are a multitude of tools that can be used to find keywords, including the Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Long Tail Pro. These tools help you search for relevant keywords with regards to your topic and also can show you things such as how often a certain word is searched every month, its keyword competitiveness and other sites that use this keyword. If you find the right keyword and include it in your content’s titles and main body paragraphs with great surrounding content, your page will be much more likely to rise from the depths and find itself on the first page of Google search results.

Content is Key

This phrase has been uttered by marketing and public relations professionals millions of times. It also has never been so true. Creating compelling content that is relevant to what your consumers are searching for is only the beginning. For a successful inbound marketing strategy, your content has to be better than great. It has to be amazing.

Anyone can write a blog post about how to rebrand a business, but it takes a talented individual to write an in-depth, informative and star-studded post. You need to create content so great that other sites want to back link (the process of other sites linking to your post or site) to it. This also aids in the chances of your site being found organically by search engines. Search engines will view your site as having more credibility with more back links and, in turn, will lead to your site appearing higher up on search engine results pages.

Image credit: beyond.customline.com

Image credit: beyond.customline.com

How Do You Put This All Together?

Grab your mixing bowl and get ready to bake that aromatic fruit-filled pie that will have your audience flocking to your content. Do your research. Developing buyer personas, finding relevant keywords and writing amazing content all take time and effort. Spend the time to develop these three items and get ready to watch your consumers come to you. The world of marketing is changing rapidly, and the power of the Internet makes it is much easier for your consumers to find you on their own time than it is for you to reach out to them. So what are you waiting for? Start doing your research and that content-rich pie sitting in the window will be too irresistible to pass up.

What do you think? Do you have any inbound marketing strategies? Comment and share your thoughts with us. Also, don’t forget to follow Innovative PR on Facebook and Twitter.

New year, new brand

Image credit: acksolutions.com

Image credit: acksolutions.com

By Jenna Chwascinski

New Year, new me, right? That seems to be a favorite phrase this time of year. For some individuals this could mean the start of a new lifestyle, or maybe letting go of an old burden. But what about businesses? Maybe it’s time for a little update. New Year, new brand?

Rebranding can be a scary task, but it can be the jumpstart a brand needs to push them to continued success. Here are a few things to keep in mind while taking on the beast that is a rebrand.

Why are you rebranding?

As with any significant changes, research needs to be done before anything happens. While rebranding can lead to huge success for companies, it’s not always necessary. It goes back to the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If your sales or brand awareness is lacking, it might be a good idea to check out a rebrand. Don’t do this, however, every time you see a dip. It will confuse your consumers and could leave a bad impression.

Consider involving your consumers and employees. Let your employees know what this will mean for the company and consider their input. After all, your employees are your best (or worst) advocates. It could also be beneficial to see what your consumers think. This could be as simple as polling them about new logo options. You may want to offer a contest to create a new tagline or slogan. Getting your customers involved will make them feel more like a part of the brand, and probably more likely to stick with you after the rebrand.

Can we save anything?

Absolutely. Rebranding doesn’t mean you start fresh, it simply means you’re giving your

Image credit: b2bmarketing.net

Image credit: b2bmarketing.net

company a facelift. Some of the most successful rebrands contain consistencies from before the rebrand. Look at UPS. They still offer the same reliable services as they always have, and still sport the same signature brown color people have come to know. They’ve just changed their slogan a few times to appeal to a broader range of professions.

Keep it simple.


Don’t try to do anything too outside the box. I’m not saying don’t be creative, just keep it tasteful. If you’re sticking with your old logo, try to enhance your brand image by using the same colors and fonts. If you’re creating a new logo, keep it clean and readable. Make it something that will stand out against other similar brands so that it will be remembered.

Image credit: slideshare.net

Image credit: slideshare.net

Coca Cola is a good example of this concept. The popular company has succeeded while continuing to use the same colors and fonts in its official graphics over the years.

Planning is everything.


Details, details, details. Since you’re switching things up, it’s only natural to expect some initial confusion. This will often come from your consumers not knowing what will change or what to expect from the new brand. Make sure employees are prepared to address questions they may encounter.

In the end, it’s important to keep the best interest of your company in mind. Not everyone will be a fan of the rebrand and that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged by the negative comments, and be prepared to address problems as they pop up.

Who did it right?


Old Spice. This company kept the same logo, but changed its image to appeal to younger

Image credit: eonline.com

Image credit: eonline.com

consumers. Old Spice was typically thought of as deodorant that your grandparents would wear, but now they describe their product as “scent vacations.” Plus who doesn’t want to be like Isaiah Mustafa on a horse? “Smellcome to manhood.”

 

What do you think? Are there any other successful rebrands that stick out in your mind? Comment and share your thoughts us. And don’t forget to follow Innovative PR on Facebook and Twitter.

Three ways Marvel is Making “Avengers: Age of Ultron” More Super

by Andrea Mason

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Poster-e1424813751772-665x385

In case you somehow missed it, Marvel and Disney are releasing “Avengers: Age of Ultron” tomorrow. That’s right, you have less than a day to prepare for its awesomeness. Over the last decade, Marvel has built an incredibly strong brand. It continues to strengthen in the midst of the film’s release with different promotions, merchandise and capitalizing on a minor crisis. Let’s take a look at a few ways Marvel is achieving this:

Making the most of a minor crisis

Marvel planned to release its first trailer for the movie during an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” last October. However, according to Variety, an internet troll beat Marvel to the punch, leaking the trailer before it was scheduled. This was not good news for Marvel because there was already a strategic plan to release the trailer. Still, Marvel was able to turn the crisis into an opportunity by posting a tweet that just said, “Dammit, Hydra.” This simplistic tweet–a nod to Captain America fans–received more than 30,000 retweets and 20,000 favorites. Marvel played off of this misfortune and blamed it on the fictional antagonist, which is quite genius.

Reaching out to women

Oddly enough, a mega-franchise like the Avengers hasn’t resonated with female audiences as well as the studios wish. Marvel knows how to change that. Cinema Blend explains that for “Age of Ultron,” Disney released one of its largest licensing programs ever around the film. If you see Iron Man, Thor or Captain America on packages of Sage Fruit, Conagra, Crunch Pak or Chobani, that is Marvel’s strategy to branch out to the female audience. All those products have a significantly high female customer bases (65-67%).

Gillette Razors from Stark Industries

150410080627-gillette-avengers-780x439Marvel teamed up with a number of well-known brands to promote “Age of Ultron.” The Mary Sue lists a few of these brands like Harley Davidson, Gillette, Doritos and Audi. Gillette unveiled a clever campaign with different men’s razors that resemble Avengers characters. With young men being the film’s biggest audience, this partnership makes a lot of sense. Even though these products aren’t real, the idea of using a superhero razor could bring out that inner 9-year-old and make shaving more enjoyable.

Marvel’s brand is well established, but the studio is successfully promoting the movie and continuing to create lasting impressions. Let’s just hope the movie lives up to crowd expectations.

We would love to hear what promotional material, merchandise or other awesome things you have seen from Marvel. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or comment below!

Brand mastery: how Apple gets it right

by Evan Whittaker

In today’s professional world, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t recognize the logo of technology industry giant, Apple. In addition to how strong the company’s brand identity is, consumer perceptions of it are overwhelmingly positive, as evidenced by its current standing as number five on the Fortune 500 list for 2014. Those perceptions are so strong and positive, in fact, that people wait in line for days to receive the company’s newest products while knowing virtually nothing about them.

So, how has Apple managed to amass such a loyal audience and create a powerful brand identity? The answer can be found in the company’s consistent design principles and genius marketing techniques. Let’s take a look at a few of the elements that contribute to Apple’s success.

Improvement, not innovation

You might be surprised to learn that smartphones, portable music players and tablet computers all existed before Apple made its foray into these markets. Many find this surprising since Apple’s iPhone, iPod and iPad have dominated these respective markets since their releases. If Apple wasn’t the first to introduce these products, why have its versions become the most popular? The answer is the company’s focus on improving and refining existing products to entice consumers.

These refinements take various forms: reduced device size for increased portability, simplified operating systems and construction using premium materials. While these may seem like trivial changes, the results are anything but. Consumers would pick up a rival product, then compare it to Apple’s thinner, lighter and more attractive version. Given that, is it any surprise that many would lean toward the latter? There is certainly something to be said for Apple’s focus on improved aesthetics.

It’s not a device, it’s an experience

Apple creates products. What Apple sells, however, are experiences. It’s not a phone with a camera, it’s the ability to capture memories. It’s not a video-chat feature, it’s the ability to be there even when you’re not. It’s not an app store with more than one million apps, it’s infinite possibilities.

Much of Apple’s marketing focuses heavily on emotional appeals. Rather than highlighting what its devices are capable of, Apple highlights what you are capable of if you own those devices. By connecting its products with sentimental activities consumers can relate with, those consumers, in turn, connect Apple itself with those activities.

It’s quite clever, really. Can you really put a price on sharing moments with your loved ones? As it turns out, you can if you’re Apple – it’s $199 with a two-year contract through your wireless carrier.

Join the club (read: cult)

Humans are social creatures. We have an inherent desire to feel included. So when a brand becomes associated with luxury and exclusivity, consumers tend to want it merely in order to feel like they’re a part of the club. It works for high-end fashion and high-end cars; it works for Apple as a high-end technology company.

Line_at_Apple_Store_in_NYCThis is an interesting development that has occurred over time as Apple has employed the marketing tactics listed above. Think of it as a passive benefit the company has attained through active processes. This is not to say that Apple hasn’t acted strategically to drive desirability for using their products, though. Features like AirDrop, iMessage, FaceTime and AirPlay offer improved functionality for those who want to connect with other Apple device users. Now that Apple has managed to position itself as the industry standard in terms of high-end technology, every new product release has consumers clamoring to drink the Apple iKool-Aid.

Summing up

Apple did an incredible job of establishing itself as a technology industry giant. Although its products may not be the first of their kind, premium materials and effective marketing techniques are sure to convince many that they are the best. With all of the hype surrounding the new Macbook and Apple Watch released this month, Apple’s streak of successful product launches and sustained brand loyalty are showing no signs of stopping.

What’s your opinion on Apple? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let us know.

 

A brand is what the audience thinks it is

by Jonathan Haile

James Bond is known to drive Aston Martins. In doing so, Astons became the “heroes’ cars.” Jaguar, another English luxury automaker, doesn’t want you driving its rival, Aston’s. That means if you’re not the hero, you must be the villain. In recent years, the company has done an excellent job playing with that brand strategy, featuring popular actors we recognize as movie villains in a series of ads. The company is not really out to incite global mayhem, but inspire you with a bit of fun.

From Jaguar's Facebook page

From Jaguar’s Facebook page

I sat in Jaguar’s gorgeous F-Type Coupe at this year’s Kansas City Auto Show, and I’ll be the first to admit that the car caused me to smirk, villainously. I wished there was a key fob close by so that I could drive it out of Bartle Hall. I love Jaguar’s ads, but it wasn’t until this week that I realized the brilliance of the automaker’s strategy.

A brand is what the customers and audiences think

I started a free online marketing course, and in a short period of time, I have heard a lot about branding, strategy and messages. The instructor, in a series of videos, explained something I wish I had realized,”The real definition of a brand is whatever the customer thinks it is.” She hit it on the head with pinpoint accuracy. We all have perceptions of a brand. Our experiences with the brand shape those perceptions. It was shown, over time, that Jaguars were the cars of the mischievous, so sitting in the F-Type, I wanted to cause some trouble. That can make things tough for PR and marketing folks.

The Challenge, The Solution

More than 6.6 million people like Jaguar on Facebook. That’s a lot of differing opinions and expectations. Therein lies an exciting challenge. How do you help the customer understand the brand as you see it? The answer isn’t villainous mind games, but creating a solid brand foundation.

Whether you are branding a start-up or re-branding a well-established company in need of updates, there are questions marketing and PR pros must consider. Here are a few:

  • Why does the company exist and who is it meant to serve?
  • How is the brand positioned in the marketplace?
  • What are the competitors doing? What will you do differently?

More specifically for PR folks, how will we communicate with the people who matter most? What tactics should we implement? When the brand is established, the communication needs to be consistent and built to help the company achieve its objectives.

Jaguar, founded more than 90 years ago, isn’t really set on blowing up major cities and manipulating world leaders. Its corporate values are integrity, understanding, excellence, unity and responsibility. That said, it’s a British luxury car company with competitors. When you consider the association between Aston Martin and James Bond, you forgive Jaguar for playing the anti-hero.

I implore you not to hatch any evil schemes. Instead, find Innovative PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Where will you decide to spend your next spring break?

by Andrea Mason

spring-break-300x195It’s that time of year again! Midterms are over and college students are soaking up the sun on spring break (at least for a little while longer). With so many spring break destinations, it can get overwhelming to decide where to go. Top agencies, such as Orbitz, Hotwire and Kayak offer deals and discounts to college students making spring break plans. It is refreshing to look at different ways these travel agencies communicate with audiences.

Beach, Mountains or City

Orbitz lists its top 10 spring break travel destinations and includes hotel and airfare prices. The list contains locations that please both crowd lovers and those who prefer peace and quiet. In fact, the peace and quiet seekers are given the option of a beach, mountain or city area. It is a smart move for Orbitz to target both groups because some students looking to travel want a quiet get away, not wild party.

Create lasting memories

Hotwire takes a different approach by listing only a couple of destinations, but giving more information about each. Hotwire focuses on what students do to create lasting memories. Since the 2014 annual Break Away report notes that there has been a 26 percent year-to-year increase in student volunteers during spring break, Hotwire lists alternative spring break choices for students who volunteer for nonprofits.

Late planners

If you are a late planner or preparing for your next big trip and need some ideas for a place to go, here is a list of some of the top destinations found on Orbitz, Hotwire and Kayak.

  • Orlando, Florida
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Miami, Florida,
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Enjoy the rest of your spring break, travel safe, and check don’t forget to like Innovative PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to comment below about your favorite spring break destination and what deals you found.

 

Engaging with your audience on social media during the holiday season

by Stephanie Harvey

During the holiday season an estimated 40 percent of shoppers use social media to plan out their shopping. Despite people being busier during the holidays, consumer interaction rates increase by about 46 percent on the most popular social media sites. Facebook is expected to be “the channel of choice” for the holidays, as 92 percent of marketers are planning extensive campaign efforts for the social media giant, alone. Instagram is also going to be a big tool during the holiday season; an estimated 73 percent of marketing professionals believe Instagram is going to be a breakout platform for this year’s holiday season.

Big christmas

The holidays are a great time for companies to connect with their publics on a more personal level. Audiences can relate to companies when they see pictures of Christmas trees, Christmas cards, or photos from holiday parties.

Use images often

No matter which social media platform a company uses, it is important to use images in posts. Research suggests this type of content can increase engagement; many times, leading to increased sales. Because of society’s love for visuals, it is strongly recommended that image-based content be used especially during the holidays.

By simply changing a cover photo to a holiday inspired photo, many companies see increased engagement. They might get even more involved with their audience by having have followers send in their holiday photos as participants in contests.

Create a contest or giveaway

Businesses also increase social media engagement during the holidays by implementing contests or giveaways. They also offer holiday special discounts or offers, for example, Applebee’s gift card deal. If a customer buys $50 or more in gift cards, they get a free $10 bonus card.

Target-Free-Shipping

Companies might also offer free shipping for the holidays. Target is stepping up the retail competition this year, offering free standard shipping on every order until December 20. This not only gets shoppers to spend more money with Target, but it also gets them talking about the free shipping on social media. They may “like”, “share” or “retweet” content about the free shipping to followers and friends. Those friends may, in turn, “like” or “share” the post for all of their friends to see as well.

Bluefountainmedia.com suggests that it’s still important to make sure to use the 80/20 rule when it comes to posts. The 80/20 rule means that 80% of all posts should be interaction driven while 20% of posts should be about sales and offers.

The key to engaging publics during the holiday season is producing content that is holiday related and entertaining. The key for companies is to have audiences relate to them on a more personal level while producing content that gives them exclusive holiday deals.

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