Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 57 – So You Think You Need Social Media Influencers

So you think you need an influencer. Influencers of course are the buzz word of 2019 and it seems like a lot of people think they are the golden ticket of advertising. I’ve heard a lot of big brands and even small businesses talking about social media influencers. They want them, they use them, but do you really need them? 

First of all, what is a social media influencer? We’ll they’re a person of influence of course. You’ve seen them, you probably follow, models, celebrities, or everyday average people on Instagram, Youtube, twitter, Facebook, or a blog. Basically they are someone who has been very successful with content marketing and they have an audience. They might be reviewing products, blogging about a specific topic like food, fitness, travel, or parenting but when we break it down they are simply access to an audience. That’s the most important point, you have to think of influencers like they are a channel.

Influencers have that title because they have been known to influence people's opinions and shopping habits through their content marketing. That is why I think there is this perception that they are the golden ticket. Like if you can get an influencer to blog or post about you, then you will be set for life. Sadly that’s not true.

I’m sorry to keep bringing the reality check but here are 3 reasons why I think influencers are not necessarily the golden ticket, of advertising that you might think they are:

1. Audience and demographics.

This is something I’m constantly preaching about. If you’re spending money on a channel and you don’t know anything about the audience, then you might as well throw your money away. For example, if you operate a local bakery and you want your brand to be featured by influencers, first of all you better make sure they are food bloggers. Second, where is their audience located? Are they also local? Are they global? Are they even real? Unfortunately it is really easy to buy followers on instagram and appear to be a person of influence. My point is that just like any TV, Radio, or Print campaign, there is work to be done on researching choosing the right channels with the right audience.

2. Media coverage

Influencers can be a really good way to target niche audiences. People who have very specific likes and interests. However, influencers should be an add on to your existing campaigns, not your entire budget. That’s because you’re often dealing with smaller segments of the population which can support your mass marketing but should never replace it.

3. Authenticity

YouTube has certainly been cracking down over the years on content creators who post product reviews. If a company provides free products or services for review then it needs to be disclosed because that is considered an advertisement. Audiences are also becoming more savvy and skeptical when it comes to this that blurred line between advertisement and legitimate review or experience. People want authentic and unbiased content that doesn’t always feel like advertising. When it comes to instagram, there is no regulation like on youtube and audiences are becoming more aware of the sponsored content and that might hurt some influencers as consumers try more and more to avoid advertising.

Basically if you work in areas like food, fashion, travel, technology, or most consumer packaged goods, then influencers might be something to explore. But like any campaign, do your homework, and don’t give your money or products to anyone claiming to be an influencer because it might be that the only person they are influencing is you, to give them money.  

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 56 – Selling Fools Gold

Here it is, the video you've been waiting for. How to GET RICH tomorrow without any effort, investment, or stress. That's right, it's time you learn how to make it rain. Oh yeah, and did I mention it’s easy? It’s super easy.

Ok sorry for leading you on but I see a lot of these advertisements on YouTube. You know, those  guys showing off their sports cars and their houses, or shooting from a beach to sell you on their money making “system” that has “worked for so many others”. They show you cheques and bank statements that “prove” it works.

I can’t tell you how much those ads annoy me... they annoy me a lot.

The reason is that coming from the world of self employment I know that it is anything but easy and effortless. Pretty much all of my clients are entrepreneurs, I am an entrepreneur as well and I don’t know anyone who found a way to make tonnes of money overnight. If anyone tells you they can, they’re lying and probably trying to sell you something.

Don’t get me wrong, it is obviously possible to make a lot of money quickly but it takes a machine and someone needs to build that machine and maintain it. That’s what takes energy, hard work, and sacrifices. Go ahead an name your business success Icon. Did they get rich overnight? NO! They might have a business that works like a fine tuned machine now but getting there was a major struggle.

I’m sorry if I’m crushing any of your dreams but being an entrepreneur is hard work and it’s even proven to be hazardous to your health. We are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, drug addiction, just to name a few. Probably because while we’re pushing through the grind, there are people out there selling this nonsense that it’s easy and you can make thousands of dollars a month without any effort. Ya it annoys me.

So if you’re self-employed and wondering if it’s worth it, If it’s going to be a huge failure (as I have too) just know that you’re not alone. We have all been there and it is always going to be an uphill battle but finding your success after what you’ve been through will make it that much more special because you built that machine all on your own.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 55 – The Second Rule of Driving A Branded Vehicle

Well this wasn't originally my topic for the week BUT, sometimes things don't go exactly to plan. So I'm putting work on hold and looking after my son this morning but thought why not get a car wash! I mean it's spring and we have had a brutal winter so I am in desperate need of a good wash to keep the BFresh Mobile looking well... Fresh.

Considering that last week I talked about the cardinal rule of driving a branded vehicle, I thought I would address the obvious second which is to keep it clean. Now some might think that is the first rule but to me it's a lot less important than driving carefully and respectfully on the road. I believe that our actions speak louder and yes it's important to maintain a good appearance but if you act like a jerk, then you're still a jerk, no matter how you look.

Not to mention that it's really hard to keep your car clean in winter. It's like bathing a pig, what's the point? Now that it's spring however, I am hopeful that we are done with all the snow and salt and we can all look forward to beautiful weather and nice, clean shiny cars.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 54 – The Cardinal Rule of Driving A Branded Vehicle

Branded Vehicles are amazing. It's like driving a billboard, everywhere you go, promoting your business. I own one, and I recommend this type of brand advertising to almost everyone.

If you own your own business, you just can't beat the level of professionalism and  exposure that a branded vehicle offers. Even an actual billboard will cost far more for just a single year of media but the great thing about wrapping your vehicle is that it's one cost to do it and it's there as long as you own your car. Even if you re-wrapped your car every 5 years, nothing will come close to how efficient and inexpensive this can be. I honestly cannot stress how amazing a branded car can be.

However, there is one rule that you should always remember. It is the single most important rule to owning a branded vehicle that should always always be in the back of your mind, no matter how rushed or stressed you may be...

Well to be polite, the number one cardinal rule to driving a branded vehicle is to drive safe. Be careful and courteous on the road because your actions represent your brand that is plastered in big letters on the side of your car or truck.

I drive a branded car myself and sometimes it can be challenging when you're stressed or in a hurry to remember this rule. If you're aggressive or dangerous on the road, it can undo all those benefits I mentioned and really work against you.

So be careful out there and be respectful because you never know when your next customer might be right behind you.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 53 – Digital Main Street – Grants for Ontario Businesses

If you own and operate a business in any “Downtown” area of any city or town in Ontario, then you might qualify for this digital marketing grant called Digital Main Street. It is funded by the Province of Ontario in partnership with the Ontario BIA Association. It is pretty awesome because they are giving away grants called Digital Transformation Grants which are $2500 to do things like enhance your digital marketing and adopt digital tools, technologies and services.

What is really great about this program is that they have an onboarding process that will help you assess your digital marketing needs and put together a personalized to-do list to help you reach your goals. It is a requirement that you go through this assessment first before you apply for the grant but I think that is really key because money won’t make you a better marketer but having educational tools and resources, plus a solid plan, will make you a better marketer.

So who can apply? Almost any Registered or Incorporated business located in the downtown or within a BIA of any city or town in Ontario could be eligible. They have a full list of the requirements and eligibility on their website so I highly recommend checking it out at digitalmainstreet.ca. If anything, go through the onboarding process to learn more about what you could be doing to enhance your digital marketing. But do it soon because there are only 2000 grants available until March of 2020. So don’t wait too long because they’re going to be gone soon.

I will note that businesses that are ineligible are Franchises, Charities, or service providers of digital marketing. So businesses like mine or web developers, designers, social media agencies, etc., are not eligible. However, they do have a directory of digital marketing service providers so if you do fall into that category you can create an account and promote your services to the thousands of businesses going through the program.

And there you have it. I hope that’s helpful. Be sure to share with anyone you think might also benefit from this grant and have a Happy Freakin’ Monday and a great week and I will see you in the next video.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 52 – 1 Video Every Monday For A Year – 5 Lessons Learned

Welcome to episode 52 of Happy Freakin’ Monday which means that I’ve been creating and posting a video per week for one full year. Ok, so not every video was specifically about marketing and there were 2, or 3 at most, that were just to say “hey not doing a real video this week...” but it was either because I was on vacation or that time I just got out of the hospital. However, no matter what was going on in my life I have made it a priority to post a video with the end goal of helping you be a better marketer. New content, every Monday for the last year and here are 5 things I’ve learned from this experience:

#1: It can always be better

This is something that I had to come to terms with early on in order to just get the videos out. In the beginning, I hardly had a plan, I just started with a basic concept of sharing marketing insights and knowledge as an Entrepreneur and Dad working from home. If I had aimed for perfection with those first videos it surely would have worn me out and I don’t know that I would have made it a full year. Instead I’ve looked at each video after the fact with a critical eye to find ways I can improve and over time I think the content has definitely improved. Little by little I’ve developed and fine tuned the look and feel from the camera and lighting to the background and wardrobe. By the end of year 2 I’m certain it will again look very different but hopefully even that much better than today.

#2: A Script Always Makes Things Better

I’m definitely not one of those people who can hit that record button and spit out a video that is concise, informative, and entertaining in a single shot. I am still working on my ability to be all of those things within a reasonable amount of time. Until that day however, I need to prepare ahead of time what I want to say for my sake and for your sake as well.

#3: Keep it consistent but mix things up

This seems contradictory but what I mean is there should be consistency in terms of your branding, your personality, your topics (which I developed over a long period) but also don’t be afraid to mix it up. For example, I’ve done almost all of my videos from my office except a few where I’ve done something different like my recipe for marketing success shot in my kitchen, or my holiday sing along in my living room, or just two weeks ago I did a vlog of my Family Day that was nothing like any of my previous videos. To me, the consistency is important for long term growth and development but mixing things up every now and again is a way to keep things fun and engaging for everyone.

#4: Audiences don’t build themselves

There is always more I could be doing to grow my audience, to get more people watching, I know that. I really need to work on YouTube the most and there are things that I know I should be doing to help that but it all comes down to a matter of time; how much i have to dedicate to this project. But again, if I aim to improve, little by little and do things like be more involved in the YouTube community or advertise my channel, I can continue to grow. I know I won’t have a million subscribers anytime soon but all I can do is work on producing better content and work on the little things that will help that growth.

#5: It takes a lot of time. More time than you think.

When I talk about finding ways to improve I’m not only talking about the content and look of the videos but also my own workflow to get them out. To give you an idea, on average I spend about 5-8 hrs on each video from start to finish. That includes scripting and writing the blog post, shooting, and editing(which I often try to keep to a minimum). Then I create 2 video thumbnails, one for YouTube and one for IGTV. Posting the video actually takes quite a lot of time as well. I post to YouTube, share that on twitter and LinkedIn, then Facebook and I’ve started using the auto generated captions which always require editing. Then I share that to my personal profile. Then comes Instagram which I’ve been working on a lot with a post in my feed plus a customized, vertical version of the same episode posted to IGTV. then I do a story to promote the topic as well. If I can finish all of that by 2 pm on Monday I’m happy but sometimes, as you may have noticed, I have posted as late as Tuesday once or twice or just around midnight was when I posted the Family day Vlog.

If you’re thinking about doing your own content marketing or video series, the best thing I can tell you is to just start. Don’t worry about making it absolutely perfect because perfection is often not sustainable. Start with one and try to make the next one better and go from there. The benefits have been great for my social media channels and brand awareness. Consistent content marketing is about building an audience through shared value and keeping your brand top of mind. So I will continue to try adding value to my content and making them fun and entertaining as long as I possibly can.

Speaking of fun videos, I have to say that looking back, my favourite one I think so far was my montage video. That one was a lot of fun to make and the end result was pretty ridiculous. What was your favourite episode or moment? What about that time my son puked on me? Wasn’t that awesome? Let me know in the comments below.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 51 – Ads from Nike & Tim Hortons You Need To Watch

Today I was just going to talk about Tim Horton’s recent “Legends of Roll Up” series as part of the “Roll Up The Rim To Win” Campaign but Nike dropped another new “Dream Crazy” ad, last night during the 2019 Oscars, and damn, it’s another one worth talking about. I mean, I don’t know that anyone will be burning their shoes over this one but It’s a good one for sure that you need to watch.

The Tim Hortons spot is far less serious but it caught me off guard. For a brand that typically puts out sappy, emotional ads, (don’t get me wrong, I often do like sappy and emotional) this one was different and that’s why I think it’s great.

The “Legends of Roll Up” is done in a mockumentary style that follows 4 “Legends” of the, quite obviously fake, sport of roll up the rim to win. In case you’re not from Canada, this is a campaign that goes on for the whole month where hidden under the rim of every cup is a chance to win a prize. If you are Canadian, you know that we take Roll Up The Rim very seriously and that’s what Tim Hortons is playing on here. They are poking fun at those people that we all know who might take it a bit too far. There are 4 videos, profiling 4 different people from the office rivals, to the grandmother, and a few more.

Here are all 4 spots in the Tim Hortons series:

Nike's New "Just Do It" Ad

As for Nike, what can I say? They’ve done it again. It’s another amazing example of a powerful script, combined with equally powerful imagery that just goes a little bit against the grain. What I really like about what Nike has been doing in their last two ads, is that instead of featuring obvious stars, they’re championing the underdog. Ok, Serena Williams is certainly no underdog, but what I mean is that they are telling a greater story of not just physical hurdles but social and economic hurdles that can make it more difficult for some athletes, and in this case, women in sport. If it doesn’t give you goosebumps, then I don’t know what will. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 35 – Generating Buzz Pt2

Last week I dressed up as a really lame bee for halloween to talk about generating buzz with your marketing. I shared 2 ways to appeal to your audience in a way that will get people talking about your brand and you can find that post here: How To Generate Buzz Pt 1. This week I am sharing 2 more ways to generate buzz.

The first one I shared was do something controversial, one that I don’t always recommend because it can be effective if it is strategically aligned to your brand and your audience. The second was do something extraordinary. This is one that can be more costly or difficult to pull off but with some creativity, anything is possible.

The point of buzz marketing is to do something that not only gets people talking about your brand but that is newsworthy where that word of mouth is amplified by the media. The key to buzz marketing is that people love telling good stories so you need to create a story worth telling.

Here are two more ways to do that and generate a whole lot of buzz:

  1. Do Something Secret or Exclusive

When most social media platforms first launch, they try to get people talking by making it exclusive. People want what they can’t have. By only allowing subscription by invite only, it makes people want it more and talk about it, especially when they do get in and others have not. Being in the know is social currency and that is what makes great buzz.

A great example is a speakeasy in New York called Please don’t tell. It’s actually a hidden bar that you find through a phone booth that you step into and dial 1 to reach the operator who lets you in.  Even though it’s out of plain sight, it’s not really hidden. By creating such a fun secret experience, it’s bound to get people talking. Also bonus points if your business concept itself is buzzworthy like Please Don’t Tell.  

  1. Do Something Absurd  

Absurd, hilarious, completely off the wall and unexpected. That’s what gets people talking. It’s also at the core of many viral videos. When doing something absurd and unexpected, guerrilla tactics are often best. Take for example this campaign from Goldtoe breiefs who dressed the charging bull statue in New York in a giant pair of boxer briefs. As you can imagine it was quite a spectacle and definitely buzz worthy.

The best thing about doing something public like this is that it gives people who witness it the opportunity to be a social media star. Again it comes down to social currency and allowing your audience to capture something no one has seen before. When people want to take photos and videos and share your campaign with their networks, that is the sign of a buzz campaign done well.

Have A Great Week!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 34 – How To Generate Marketing Buzz

Generating Buzz is essentially word of mouth marketing but with a loud speaker. When we talk about generating buzz, we’re not only referring to getting people talking about your brand but doing something that is even newsworthy where that word of mouth is amplified by the media.

This approach is obviously appealing because the media and word of mouth exposure is free. That doesn’t mean that generating buzz itself is a cheap form of advertising. It can be quite expensive but here are some ways to appeal to your audience in a way that will get people talking because people love telling stories. So create stories for people to tell by doing one of 4 things (that I will share over 2 episodes). Here's are the first 2 ways to generate Buzz:

If you’re really brave, do something controversial. Not always a great tactic but if calculated well it could work in your favour. One of my favourite stories of a controversial buzz campaign was from a video game company called Acclaim Entertainment. They created a series of games around a character named Turok who was a Dinosaur Hunter. But they launched a campaign in the UK around the a new Turok game and they announced that they would pay any new Parents £10,000 to name their newborn “Turok”.

As you might guess this caused quite a buzz. It was kinda funny, kinda stupid, and only really harmful if anyone took them up on it. As far as I know, noone did. The thing about this story however is that Acclaim pushed the envelope with another campaign and not only found the line of controversial buzz marketing, but they crossed it. They took the same approach with another video game launch and they offered to buy ad space on people’s tombstones. The public had a hay day with this and they were forced to quickly revoke the offer and I’m sure it was a pr nightmare. So bottom line is that I don’t recommend this tactic often.

Something I do recommend is doing something Extraordinary - Something your audience has never seen before.

Ok this one can be difficult and costly. Like one of my favourite examples that fits this category is Red Bull’s Stratos stunt. Remember when that guy jumped out of a weather balloon from the stratosphere, over 36,000 meters above the earth and broke the sound barrier as he fell to the ground? Ya you can’t afford that but what an awesome way to generate buzz. Here is the highlight video from that event, in case you missed it.

Something more budget friendly and realistic might be a flash mob. All you need are a couple of actors/singers/dancers and someone to film it. A flash mob can be a great way to give people an immersive and unforgettable experience that they are sure to talk about. Here is a flash mob campaign from T-Mobile: 

And here is a pretty buzz worthy campaign from ING Netherlands, promoting an art exhibit where a famous painting comes to life: 

Next 2 ways to generate buzz coming next week. See you then!

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Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 32 – Marketing to Cannabis Culture

It’s Monday October 15th which means that in just 2 days CannAbis will officially be legal in Canada. Cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed, dope, ganja reefer, whatever you want to call it, has been illegal in this country for over 90 years and this change is going to have a profound impact on our society on so many levels.

Of course, I want to talk about marketing and what this widespread social and economic change means to big brands as well as me and potentially some of my clients.

The fact is that most brands will steer clear of this subject just like alcohol consumption but with this change in legislation will come a change in attitudes and stereotypical demographics.

Speaking of stereotypical demos One notable brand already jumping on board the cannabis train is Hershey’s with their oh Henry 425 bar which is targeted directly at a younger “pot smoking” or “stoner” demographic. Obviously referencing 420 which if you don’t know what that means, here is a link to the urban dictionary definition. But they’re basically saying it’s perfect for 5 min after you get high and have the munchies.

Hershey’s partnered up with a youtube channel “epic meal time”, a Canadian based channel with 7 million subscribers to promote the bar. Now this is not a new strategy there are lots of channels, producing content for big brands but  what’s interesting is the utter lack of subtlety in this video. In the spot they act high and create a 100lb version of the bar to satisfy their munchies. To me, it’s a bit of a bold move to be so blatant about a product created for stoners but it’s kind of an obvious tactic and one we might also see from brands like Doritos or Taco bell.

However, good marketing is about understanding human behaviour and attitudes and what I am really interested in seeing is how decriminalizing marijuana will change attitudes and a lot of those stereotypes. The fact is that it’s not just consumed by a young 18-25 male demographic. It was decriminalized because it is used recreationally,  medicinally by people from all walks of life. So where before we might have used a cliche of busy mom comes home from work and pours herself a glass of wine, we might see a shift to cann ibis products whether it be a joint, oils, or edibles.

It’s like that Nike spot I was talking about a few weeks ago featuring Colin Kaepernick. The brilliance of that ad was the subtle yet impactful message that was a direct reflection of the times we live in and the times they are a changin’. Especially come Wednesday.

See you next week!

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