For the 4th year in a row 4x3 has proudly marketed the annual Odessa Brewfest. Through a custom-designed website, social media and content marketing we helped the Historic Odessa Foundation invite hundreds of visitors as they enjoyed award-winning craft beer, gourmet food, local craft vendors, live music, and historical demonstrations on the beautiful grounds of the 1769 Warner-Wilson house in Odessa, Delaware.
Social Media Marketing Success
In conjunction with our email and content marketing efforts, we focused heavily on social media marketing as a way to not only to create buzz about the event, but to generate ticket sales. The result was a consistent level of social media engagement and non-stop event promotion across a variety of platforms.
In order to gain maximum visibility on Facebook, 4x3 implemented a marketing strategy that utilized boosted posts as a away to appear higher up on news feeds of people that are located within a specified geographic area with interests in craft beer. Facebook boosting allowed the Odessa Brewfest gain exposure to new audiences and interact with 94,670 engaged users in the four months leading up to the festival.
Generating engagement between the attending breweries and fans is always important to promoting the Odessa Brewfest. One way we facilitate engagement is the annual Brewbracket competition -- an online contest in which we pit breweries against one another in a bracket where fans vote for their favorite brewery. By doing this, we gain access the loyal brewery fans that vote and share the Brewbracket on social media. Year after year, it has proven a great way to drive interactions on social media and traffic back to the festival website.
Generating hype before an event is crucial, but continuing to drive engagement during an event is just as important. To keep guests posting to social media throughout the festival we created a Selfie Contest to encourage poeple to take pictures of themselves and their friends enjoying the wonderful craft beer and beautiful ground of Historic Odessa with all their friends. Throughout the day, more than 75 guests entered the contest through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Several beer enthusiasts won fun brewery swag and other merchandise at the end of the day.
4x3 also designed a Geofilter for the annual Odessa Brewfest. The custom Geofilter appeared during the festival and allowed anyone who attended the event to use the filter on Snapchat. Everyone shared snaps with their friends using the filter to celebrate their favorite craft beer and to commemorate being at the event. At the end of the day, there was a total of 5,272 uses and views! This is a great strategy for creating peer to peer marketing with minumum effort.
Diesel Adventures has engaged 4x3 to manage their web content and to devise a marketing strategy to improve SEO and increase your page ranking organically on major search engines and social media platforms.
Content and Social Media Marketing
After conducting a complete website audit of Diesel Adventures, 4x3 created a solution to improved audience engagement by bringing relevant, useful, and entertaining information to customers. Every strategy was thoughtfully designed to educate visitors about Diesel Adventures and their services through newsletters, blogs and social media campaigns.
4x3 manages Diesel Adventures' social networking sites, including: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google + and YouTube.
"Starting a new business is hard. Being new to the world of content marketing, 4x3 have been very patient with all my questions and helping to me understand what works and what doesn’t. The campaigns that have been implemented have certainly increased my brand awareness and audience reach."
Steve Murphy | Founder | Diesel Adventures
ABOUT DIESEL ADVENTURES
Diesel Adventures is an adventure travel company that specializes in overland expeditions and small group adventure tours on a variety of countries and continents.
Diesel Adventures prioritizes what you are looking for in your tour -- be it culture, history, architecture, the wild outdoors, wildlife, hiking food or any specific interest -- so they can give you their expert recommendations on the very best trip that will suit you.
A client of ours recently expressed skepticism about Facebook as a marketing platform. Before you gasp, let me just say—his questions are perfectly legitimate. Remember, just because Facebook reaches over a billion people worldwide does not automatically guarantee it’s the best solution in every case.
I would argue that Facebook is a very good marketing option for this client. Before I say why, I’ll give a quick overview of his situation.
This service-oriented business is focused on a local audience. It is traditionally very reliant on word-of-mouth recommendations and does well with search rooted in location-based and need-based keywords. The problem is that there is a lot of competition for these same services.
His argument against Facebook is that his clients do not, up to this point, come from there. Also, he personally does not like seeing businesses pop up on his Facebook feed, so he expects others don’t like seeing these type of posts, either.
Facebook Marketing: Local Search
One argument in Facebook’s favor is that it is becoming increasingly popular as a tool for local search. In fact, according to comScore data, Facebook is now the world’s number-two local search app behind Google Maps. Facebook has achieved this by drawing data from its huge user base to create location and subject-based search results for just about everything.
What does this mean for our skeptical client? Any business you search for on Facebook will bring a result, whether you create a page or not. A business that creates their own page and populates it with useful content will have a leg up over those who do not.
Facebook Marketing: Friendly Algorithms
While no social media platform can give you what you want all the time, worries about Facebook posts being intrusive are probably overblown. Unless you pay to boost posts, Facebook is not going to throw your content up on people’s feeds without a reason—a query by the user, or some kind of interaction (click-throughs, likes, shares, etc).
Even if you do boost, this form of paid marketing is highly targeted. You can make sure your boosted post is only seen by people with specific interests or in a specific area. There’s no “throw spaghetti at the wall” marketing on Facebook.
Facebook Marketing: Driving Traffic and SEO
Facebook is a proven way to drive traffic to your website. People who come to your site through Facebook might contact you through the site, but unless you have them fill out a questionnaire, you might not know it was Facebook that led them to you.
Another advantage of posting frequently on Facebook is that you are generating link-backs—links that point to your site—which are an important sign to Google that your website is important and contains quality content. Traffic from external sources is very important to SEO.
Ever wish news articles in Google search or Facebook feeds would load faster on your phone? Our benevolent Web overlords feel your pain. There’s a mini horse-race going on right now between Google and Facebook over which will attract the most publishers to their new content platforms designed to make loading articles lightning fast in iOS and Android.
Facebook’s platform is called Instant Articles, and the company brags that articles and photos accessed through the social network will load 10 times faster than through the standard mobile Web.
Publishers work with Facebook and Google to set up their content on these platforms, and both companies are busy wooing partners. Facebook touts cool-looking content from National Geographic, while Google is already working with big players like Hearst.
Both Google and Facebook may be reacting to Apple’s built-in News app, which rolled out on all iOS devices last year. News, for its part, was inspired by the Flipboard app. News and Flipboard make it easy and more convenient to browse and load news articles. Google and Facebook surely want to bring that same functionality to their ecosystems.
Keeping up with Apps on Mobile
All this is interesting to Web developers because ever-more complex and dynamic websites have created challenges on mobile. A Wordpress plugin will be available to make it easy for publishers to create Instant Articles for Facebook, while Drupal developers have released a custom module compatible with the Instant Articles program.
Expect more innovations as developers and tech companies seek new ways to improve the mobile experience.
We at 4x3 were proud to be part of the team behind the Odessa Brewfest. We’ve been there from the beginning, helping connect the festival to the world with a custom-designed website, email marketing and social media.
The beer festival debuted last year to great success, bringing 47 brewers and over 1400 festival goers. This year was even bigger, with 54 breweries setting up on the grounds of the historic Warner-Wilson house in Odessa, Del. Attendees enjoyed live music, great food, wine, spirits, crafts, a historical demonstration… and of course lots of good beer.
Social media: The brewbracket contest
Our social media efforts included a contest pitting participating breweries in a field-of-32 bracket competition. Voters online narrowed the list down to two brewers—Mispillion River and Troegs. People voted in person at our social media table and received fun prizes in return.
The Historic Odessa Foundation’s mix of online, print and radio marketing was successful in generating buzz about the festival and lots of positive local media coverage. Odessa’s status as a treasured Delaware historic site was emphasized, as was the presence of local breweries, wineries, distillers and other vendors (such as Wilmington’s Hy Point Dairy) with deep roots in the state.
There is nothing generic about this festival—it is a truly a Delaware-flavored affair—and this added to the excitement around the event.
We had fun helping to publicize the event and being at the festival last Saturday. We look forward to doing it again next year!
The first annual Historic Odessa Brewfest, held Sept. 6, 2014, was a huge success. Over 1400 visitors enjoyed gourmet food and spirits, local artisan crafts, historical demonstrations and award-winning ales, stouts, lagers, cider and Belgian brews from 47 craft brewers.
We at 4x3 LLC are proud of the role we played in making the festival a success. Working closely with the Historic Odessa Foundation, we designed and built a dynamic, visually appealing, easy-to-navigate website that looks equally great on phones, tablets and desktops. But we did not stop there. We developed a comprehensive marketing and social media strategy designed to drum up excitement, ticket sales and interest in the Odessa Brewfest brand.
4x3 Brand Awareness and Content Marketing
To raise awareness of the festival locally and regionally, we provided:
- Brand awareness (messaging and overall brand identity online and in print)
- Research (intelligence on beer festivals and other comperable events)
- Content (news, press releases and e-newsletters)
- Promotion (our much-heralded brewbracket contest; social media management; brewer partnerships)
4x3 designed a brew bracket contest modeled after the college basketball field of 64. Utilizing posts on Facebook and Twitter, users voted for their favorite beers by liking, sharing and commenting. The contest, which featured entertaining and informative descriptions of the beers and breweries participating in the festival, drove daily interest among brewers, vendors, beer drinkers and regional media, leading to increased followers, site visitors and ticket purchases.
The effort culminated in a Final Four held live on the day of the festival. Attendees voted in person with their smartphones at a social media booth (manned by us) and claimed prizes such as t-shirts, coasters, hats and keychains.
The Result fro the Festival in Just 3 Months
- Nearly 600 interactions on social media related to BrewBracket posts.
- Over 900 Odessa Brewfest Facebook page likes and 870 Twitter followers.
- Site visit jumps of 60% to 100% on days matchups were promoted.
The Brewfest returns Sept. 12, 2015—and 4x3 will once again be leading the marketing and promotion efforts. Look for us at this year's festival—we'd love to meet you!
Ever thought about promoting a post on Facebook? We’ve been dipping our toe in that water lately, and getting familiar with the quirks of the process.
In case you are unfamiliar with promoting posts on Facebook, it works like this: The social network lets you set a budget and target audience, and "boosts" the post far beyond your normal friends and followers. You pay for what Facebook calls “actions” — link clicks, comments, shares and likes. Each time someone interacts with your post in one of these ways, a certain amount is deducted from your budget (you set a budget for as little as $5, and increase it at any time if you like how things are going).
Facebook Boosting Posts: Surprises and Snafus
We recently ran an experiment in writing viral headlines, creating three different versions for a story about a controversial beer can label and boosting all three to see which got the best response. A few hours in, Facebook flagged one of our headline posts as inappropriate, temporary shutting down the promotion:
“Your Post wasn't boosted because it violates Facebook's ad guidelines by promoting alcohol products to people who are not of legal drinking age for their location. The post remains published, but it is not running as an ad."
Facebook gives you an opportunity to fix your targeting to meet their guidelines, which in this case was easy — just up the minimum target age from 18 (the default) to 21.
Funny thing was the other two headlines also mentioned beer, and were not flagged. I guess Facebook’s algorithm needs a little work.
Anyway, it was no big deal—Facebook wants you to boost, and makes it easy to set things right and get your promotion going again.
Facebook Boosts: Targeting
So one key takeaway for us was to check the default audience settings and target carefully. Facebook lets you choose specific audience interests to target — say, “Craft Beer” and “Brewing.” The trick is to strike a balance between casting too big a net (by picking too many categories) and being so narrow that you miss potentially interested people. The right balance is different for each campaign.
Facebook Ad Restrictions on Text in Images
A more difficult hurdle comes if your boosted post violates Facebook’s rules on text in images. Ads on Facebook may contain text in the headline, message or video thumbnail, but cannot make up more than 20% of an image. This includes logos and slogans.
Facebook says they do this to “ensure people on Facebook only see high-quality content.” Unfortunately, the one-size-fits-all rule can eliminate boosted images that are both appropriate and relevant. We boosted a fun story for a client, Arizona Opera, about a traffic cop leaving a message for a fellow opera lover instead of giving them a ticket—but the photo of a handwritten note ran afoul of the rules.
The campaign was cancelled, but not before garnering some shares and likes. (Facebook does not notice guideline violations right away.)
To help you meet the guidelines, Facebook offers a grid tool that lets you test images to see if they contain too much text.
And remember: these rules regarding ad restrictions on text in images apply only to boosted posts, not regular ones.
We all know how difficult it can be to get people to find and view a website, Twitter feed, YouTube channel or Facebook page. Posting to social media can feel like a drop in a bucket (reservoir, really) unless you can create the mojo that makes a bit of content go viral—and anyone who’s tried knows what a challenge that can be.
Your online audience: getting out in front
The best way to earn consistent views is by gaining followers or subscribers, something that keeps your message out in front of your desired audience. E-newsletters have long been a great way to build an online audience: whether you are a company looking to generate sales leads or a retailer promoting a new product, there can be no more powerful tool. The trick is to get people to fill out that quick form.
Building an online audience
The decision to subscribe/like/follow/whatever should be easy, should be fast and should be integrated into the flow of a person’s interaction with your content. When possible, it should come with a reward. If you create downloadable content, contests or webinars, include a newsletter sign-up check box as part of the registration process—their interest in what you are offering is the motivation.
Even something as simple as liking a Facebook page can create big dividends. Let’s say you agree to “like” SEOptimer’s Facebook page in order to download a report (as seen in the picture with this article). Now you’re getting SEOptimer posts in your feed, which creates plenty of opportunity for them to make a case for subscribing to a newsletter, trying their software, or (the ultimate goal) becoming a paying customer. The quick, simple act of hitting that “like” button opens the door to many opportunities.
With the holidays fast approaching, Facebook has some posting advice for businesses.
Facebook offers seven tips for promotion, not surprisingly touting its money-making "boost" feature as the most important. But there are other options too.
Facebook Promotion Tips
- Boost important posts to reach more people and new audiences. You set the amount you want to spend to promote your post, and Facebook does the rest.
- Offer exclusive discounts and promotions, which Facebook naturally thinks you ought to boost.
- Connect with images. The New Big Blue recommends high-quality photos of products or “lifestyle images of people interacting with them.” Keep descriptions short with calls to action.
- Keep posts relevant and updated. Especially this time of year, when Halloween quickly gives way to Thanksgiving and so forth, and messages can go stale quick.
- Be consistent. Consistency tells your audience what to expect from you. Don't sacrifice quality for frequency—posting more often will not help if the content is poor.
- Target posts. Try posting with specific types of audience in mind. Facebook lets you do this when you click the “Settings” tab at the top of a business page, then turn on targeting & privacy control for posting. This gives you options each time you post to the page, such as gender, age, language and location targeting.
- Check your metrics. Facebook offers post performance metrics—click the “Insights” tab at the top to dive in.
I found this useful and enlightening (especially the targeting feature, which I was not aware of). Hope you do, too. Oh, and in case we don't see you next week—Happy Thanksgiving from 4x3!
Whether you work at a large corporation or own a small business, your company should be utilizing social media. Everyone is on it. And even if every single person is not on it, your target consumer probably is. In my opinion, here are the most important tips that you need to know.
1. Set goals and create a strategy to fit the target audience
It’s really difficult to measure success if you have nothing to compare it to. Decide who your target audience is and the best way to reach them. Then decide what goal you would like to achieve in a given amount of time (ex. we want to reach 100 more followers in the next two weeks).
2. Utilize analytics to know what best suits your audience
There are tons of ways to find out how successful or unsuccessful your posts are on different platforms. No one way is proven better than the other; it's a matter of preferance. Sometimes analytics are provided through the site and there are also third-party analyzers. Use as many or as few as you’d like but definitely make sure you always do three things. Read it. Comprehend it. Take action to make the next report even better.
3. Use Twitter to converse and not to simply push content
Twitter is such a vital tool. You are able to do more than just share information. You can gather information and build loyalty. No one likes being talked at. It is more effective to have a conversation than to lecture. Definitely stay active on social media with links, ideas, opinions, office happenings, etc. Undoubtedly, the most important thing about twitter is the ability to engage your audience and have a conversation with them. Understand their thoughts and what they would like to see from your company. It will help you reevaluate your goals and keep you on track!
4. Live by “A picture is worth a thousand words”
In research done to predict the ways and trends of social media, one thing is ubiquitous: Pictures in your content gets more attention. One Hubspot blog claimed that photos on Facebook generated more than double the amount of comments or likes on a post without photos. Twitter had the same results with increased retweets, site visits and clicks if the tweet had a photo.
My personal favorite way to share my photos on social media is through Instagram although there are several avenues that can be utilized to post pictures.
5. Use Pinterest to demonstrate your expertise and creativity
Although Pinterest is really popular for being a DIY hub, people use it every day for business. Creating pins that will bring traffic back to your site is imperative. Yes, you can still pin things from other sites but it is important to show that you can back up all of your ideas and that you are the expert. I would argue everyone can find a place on Pinterest. From greens-keepers to insurance tips, Pinterest has it all.
6. Don’t let your Facebook be boring
Getting consumers to like your page is a battle in itself, to grab their attention is another battle all together. This, much like Pinterest, will need your creativity. On your personal Facebook, it is acceptable to post what you ate and how you are feeling about life. Business pages are quite different. You want your business page to engage the reader and get them to your site and to remember your name above all others. Giving promotional discounts, posting videos from your YouTube account and even asking questions are just some ways to engage your audience.
I really liked this article posted by Driving Business Online which listed 20 ways to spice up your business page!
7. Promote a healthy dose of daily information but only provide good content
If you go to a company’s twitter account and they haven’t tweeted for some time, it could reflect poorly on them. On the other hand, if they tweet daily about sweet nothings, it could be equally as annoying and in turn, they may lose followers.
Unfortunately, there is no exact formula to fix this issue of balance. My best advice is to go back to your plan and strategize. With your audience in mind, what kind of content do they want and on what sites? How often do they look at those platforms? These questions can often be answered by using analytics. You have to cater to the needs of your consumers.
8. Utilize email too!
This one is simple. Always add emails to your database. Always utilize those emails to get out information.
9. Remaining open and on top of emerging social platforms while learning to utilize them to their greatest potential
The fact of the matter is that social media goes out of style fast. As soon as you get acquainted and comfortable; it’s changing. You have to be willing to roll with the punches and learn new platforms. This does not mean you have to use every single one for your business. However, you should have a general idea of what it does and how to navigate it. Even platforms that you think won’t do you any good, for example Snapchat, if you keep an open mind you may find a way to utilize it to your advantage (check out its new geo-filters. What a fun way to market your brand).
10. Isn’t this always the last point in a list like this? Have fun!
If social media is part of your business, well, that is fun in itself. But work takes up most of your life, and life is too short anyway to not have fun. Post informative, and fun, content.
This is the first in a five part series on social networking and your website. So you think you're all set and humming in Facebook. Maybe you're not as on top of it as you think.
#1 The Facebook Business Page
I went to the beach the other week - Sea Isle, NJ. It just so happens that friends of the family were staying in Ocean City. Our family trekked from Sea Isle to Ocean City on Thursday of the week's stay to visit. The story is that I haven't seen most of them since the 70s. Both of our families used to rent separate houses at the shore in Ocean City at the same time each summer. Their five and our eight hung out during the summer months. Both families are high energy so the stories - they are a many. It was a lot of fun to see them and my Mom especially enjoyed seeing her old friend after so many years.
When we returned to Sea Isle that evening, I showed my Mom how I was about to 'friend' the girl that I knew from their family with my iPhone. Turns out Ellen has her own business (Bare Bones Biz), so I showed my Mom the steps to buy one of the books she had written through her website with my phone. My Mom is in her eighties. She remembers going to the beach in the 30s. She remembers watching the radio. By the time I checked out for the book purchase, Ellen and I were 'friends' on Facebook.
The Facebook phenomenon
Most of us know the Facebook phenomenon. I try not to get sucked in, but it happens. I find myself reconnecting with friends from my youth and college that I've lost track of and posting silly photos of my children for all to see. I love that my cousin I hardly see and a friend from Texas 'like' my posts and comment at how my kid's goofy face looks just like mine.
But it's the Facebook page that I'm here to talk about and help you understand. So, here we go ... just follow the steps and you'll have a page for your business in minutes ... or STOP RIGHT HERE ... and send me and email me: firstname.lastname@example.org I'll do it for you.
Create a Facebook Page for your Business
Step 1: Go to 4x3, LLC's Facebook Page
I opened a new window for you.
Step 1.1: Like my Page.
Click the button next to the title of the page: 4x3, LLC with the thumbs up Like button. This isn't really a step ... just shameless 4x3 self promotion. After all that is the purpose of all this. You want to get people to Like your page then you can send them information about the stuff they already said they like. We'll get into that a bit more as we go ...
Step 2: Click 'Create a Page for My Business'.
Next, pick the type of page, the name and confirm you are the official representative.
Step 3: Now you're home free.
Follow the 'Welcome to your new Page. Let's get started!' I recommend all 6 steps.
1. Upload an Image
2. Provide some basic information
3. Post status updates
4. Add Like Box
5. Set up your mobile phone
6. Connect to Twitter (we'll get your Twitter account up in the segments to come)