The Digital Dish

How to Effectively Use Facebook Stories for Brands
Feb13
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How to Effectively Use Facebook Stories for Brands

How to Effectively Use Facebook Stories for Brands

Recently, I’ve been brainstorming how to implement a plan to use Facebook Stories across all of the brands we own here at TrackFive. I have to admit – although I am an avid Facebook user, I rarely pay attention to the Stories at the top of my page. So, I started watching the stories my

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Fyre Findings: 10 Things Marketers Can Learn from the Fyre Festival Fail
Jan30
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Fyre Findings: 10 Things Marketers Can Learn from the Fyre Festival Fail

Fyre Findings: 10 Things Marketers Can Learn from the Fyre Festival Fail

Maybe I should start out with a spoiler alert… but, by now everyone knows how the story ended. What makes the Fyre Netflix documentary so interesting are the outrageous twists and turns in between,

Read more
Benefits of a Website Audit
Jan07
0

Benefits of a Website Audit

Benefits of a Website Audit

I’ve survived! After hacking through (literally)

Read more
Three Best Things to Happen at the TrackFive Holiday Party
Dec08
0

Three Best Things to Happen at the TrackFive Holiday Party

Three Best Things to Happen at the TrackFive Holiday Party

Have you ever had one of those warm, content feeli

Read more

Blog

How to Effectively Use Facebook Stories for Brands

Recently, I’ve been brainstorming how to implement a plan to use Facebook Stories across all of the brands we own here at TrackFive. I have to admit – although I am an avid Facebook user, I rarely pay attention to the Stories at the top of my page. So, I started watching the stories my friends are posting. They’re similar to Snapchats in that they’re short, 20-second snippets of either photo or video. After 24 hours, they disappear.  Plus, they’re at the top of everyone’s newsfeed and can be seen by all of your Facebook followers. However, I wondered, how many people actually watch Facebook Stories, and how valuable could Facebook stories for brands actually be? It turns out pretty valuable. It’s no surprise that Facebook has an average of 2.23 billion monthly users, but I was surprised to learn that Facebook had 150 million active users per day for Stories just 14 months after launching this feature. Also, in a study conducted by Facebook, the social media platform found that 62 percent of those who actively watch Facebook Stories said that they become more interested in a brand after seeing it in their Stories feed.

So, the audience is there. As best stated by Forbes writer Bud Torcom, “I see Facebook Stories like California’s mines and creeks before the 1849 gold rush, and as a fellow marketer, you deserve to know about this rich vein of opportunity waiting to be tapped.”

Let’s tap in!

Five Benefits of Using Facebook Stories for Brands

  • Facebook Stories are the first thing people see when they log into Facebook, and they’re growing in popularity. This means you have the opportunity to reach a wide audience of people who probably aren’t going to your brand’s page every day. Once they see your attention-grabbing Facebook Story, they just might.
  • Facebook produces a greater return on investment than any other social network, and Facebook Stories is rising in popularity. People are mindlessly scrolling Facebook, and they’re not even really looking for anything. Facebook is kind of like wandering into Target to kill time. You didn’t realize you needed all that junk from the $1 bins at the front of the store until you saw them. Facebook Stories puts your brand at the front of the store, so to speak.
  • Video! Let’s face it, video marketing is more relevant than ever before. In fact, whether you’re talking companies or regular consumers, we are all uploading more video content per month than major U.S. television stations could create in 30 years. Let that sink in. People engage with video. It has a higher reach on Facebook, and it’s an interesting and more personal way to tell your brand’s story.
  • Stories are organic and easy to consume. If you want to connect to your customers in a real way, getting their attention by creating Facebook Stories is an effective way to do it. It’s especially beneficial if you’re running a campaign or trying to engage with your audience. Here at TrackFive, our first Facebook Stories trial was with a scholarship campaign we host every year through our TravelNurseSource brand. We created selfie videos encouraging people to head over to our page and vote for their favorite scholarship contestant. It worked!
  • It’s free! The fact that Facebook Stories are free is the most obvious benefit. Even if you experiment with it and find that you’re not seeing a difference in engagement from your consumers, it doesn’t cost you anything at all to do it. Well, other than a little bit of time and creative juices.

Three Tips for How to Effectively Use Facebook Stories for Brands

Facebook Stories for brands

If you want successful Facebook Stories for brands, check out these three tips!

  • Make sure your content is time-sensitive. Think about it. Facebook Stories are only live for 24 hours. You don’t want to post something evergreen here or duplicate your stories week after week. You want to promote something that’s timely, like Valentine’s Day, a 24-hour contest, or announcing something new in your industry.
  • Don’t bore your audience with all of the same content. What do I mean by “the same content?” Well, you’re not going to like it, because this is a tough one. You shouldn’t post the same content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Although some duplicate content is ok, it gets boring. Think about your personal Facebook use. How annoying is it to scroll Instagram and see that your friend from high school is posting a proud “my child used the potty for the first time” picture? Now, it’s even more annoying when you switch over to Facebook and see the post again. Before you create a story, ask yourself, who cares? Then, ask yourself, which social platform cares most?
  • Use Facebook Stories as a way to take things to a more personal level. Sure, your Facebook story can be graphics or animation, but also think of ways to show face. People like people, so if you can use Facebook Stories to recognize your employee of the month or to show video clips of a conference you’re attending, this will attract a lot more attention. It also shows your audience the people behind the brand, and it can increase their likelihood of engaging with you.

How to Measure Success After Posting Facebook Stories for Brands

My issue this week – how do I measure the success of all these Facebook Stories that I planned out? I found through Facebook Insights how to see the stats on my stories, but I didn’t really understand what they meant. It said something about how many people forward swiped and backward swiped. Now, I’ve used Tinder before, (for those of you in relationships, this is a dating app) so I get the whole left is bad, right is a good thing when it comes that. However, Facebook is different. Did they like it or didn’t they!? It took me just one a quick Google search to arrive at my answer. I’ve included the info below for you.

  • Unique Story Opens: This is the number of people who opened your story. If that number is high – yay!
  • Forward Taps: Forward taps means that’s the number of times someone tapped to skip to the next piece of your story. If this number is high, that’s also a good thing. That means your story was interesting enough that they hope there’s more to see.
  • Backward Taps: This is the number of times someone tapped to go back to your story. So, basically, if someone was tap-happy and moved forward too fast, backward taps mean they probably thought – “hey, that was cool. I should go back and look at it again.”
  • Forward Swipes: The number of forward swipes is one that you don’t want to be high. This is the number of times someone swiped to skip to the next story in their feed.
  • Exits: This one is obviously the number of people who viewed your story and then exited the Stories feature to go back to their regular newsfeed.

What have you discovered about Facebook Stories for brands? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

Fyre Findings: 10 Things Marketers Can Learn from the Fyre Festival Fail

Maybe I should start out with a spoiler alert… but, by now everyone knows how the story ended. What makes the Fyre Netflix documentary so interesting are the outrageous twists and turns in between, and the fact that there are many things marketers can learn from the Fyre Festival fail. To give you some basic background, musician Ja Rule and former entrepreneur Billy McFarland, got together and came up with an app for booking celebrities at events. To promote it, they concocted this elaborate plan for an upscale music festival – Fyre. It would take place on a private island in the Bahamas, and they promoted it like crazy with promises of luxurious tents, food, beach yoga, yachts, private jets, real-life treasure hunts…  you get the idea.

To say that everything fell apart and the festival was an epic disaster is an understatement. Yet, the entire story is relatable. First of all, have you ever come up with a really exciting idea while drinking? Most of us have, but then we sober up and forget about it. It seems like Ja Rule and McFarland came up with this crazy idea while drinking, kept drinking, and kept coming up with more crazy ideas. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for them. Despite the “combination of confusion and excitement” – as someone described Fyre Festival in the documentary – there are some solid takeaways, especially for marketers. Obviously, the number one lesson is don’t steal from people and commit fraud, because that’s illegal. Aside from that, here are the top 10 things marketers can learn from the Fyre Festival fail.

10 Things Marketers Can Learn from the Fyre Festival Fail

things marketers can learn rom the fyre festival fail

1. Get people pumped up

Despite their epic fails, the one thing the Fyre Festival planners got right was they got people pumped up. Their social media strategy and influencer outreach had people across the globe talking about the festival far in advance. Between hashtags, amazing photography and video, and a really intelligent social media strategy, they were getting retweets. People were talking about them. The press was interviewing them. They were on top of the world. This is one of the things marketers can learn from the Fyre Festival fail – they did have some killer wins.

2. Follow through on your promises

Obviously, their epic failure was in not following through on their promises. First, they were given permission to hold the festival on former druglord Pablo Escobar’s private island, under the condition that they wouldn’t use his name in their promotion. In the very first promotional video, they did just that. It didn’t take long for them to be banned from the island. Meanwhile, they promised attendees luxury tents, private jets, an exotic private island, and so much more. In reality, guests showed up to a mosquito-infested island that was already overpopulated due to another event happening at the same time. Everything they promised unraveled, and instead of owning up to it ahead of time, they lied until reality betrayed them.

3. Don’t pass out with a beer in your hand

I feel like this goes without saying. However, the footage on the Fyre Netflix documentary literally shows McFarland, in charge of the entire campaign, passed out in the sand with a beer in his hand. Now, while we can pause a moment to envy his rock star lifestyle… we have to ask, really? While this might sound like your freshmen year of college, that’s fine. When you’ve graduated and are playing with big-time influencers – not ok.

4. Make sure your talent tags you on social media

In the very beginning of the Fyre fiasco, organizers got all these top talent models to come to the island where the festival would be held. They were doing photos and videography with the models. Simultaneously, the models were posting their own pictures of themselves on the island. However, they weren’t tagging the festival or the festival organizers. Making sure to remind your talent ahead of time to tag you. Give them exact hashtags or locations that they should use, as this is a huge help in promoting your campaign.

5. Don’t spill beer on your plans

And we’re back to the beer. At another point in the documentary, someone accidentally spills their beer on the drawings where they’re planning the layout of the festival. I guess it goes without saying, but one of the things marketers can learn from the Fyre Festival fail is not to drink at their desks… Disappointing, I know.

6. Be able to sell it

Not only did Fyre Festival organizers kill it when it came to social media campaigning, but they also had someone in charge who can literally sell anything. When you see and hear the way people describe McFarland’s selling skills, it’s unbelievable. He continued to convince sponsors to give him money, despite having little concrete examples to show them. As marketers, not only is it important for us to promote and campaign with killer strategy, but our jobs are so much easier when we’re doing that for someone who we are confident can sell the product. Here at TrackFive, it wouldn’t matter how much traffic our marketing team can drive to our websites if we didn’t have a strong sales team backing us up.

7. Think about timing

Something that’s really important to consider when planning a marketing campaign is timing. What else is going on the week of your event, and will your event get overshadowed? Is there anything else going on that could interfere with your plans? It’s important to keep an open mind and think about any outside factors that could impact your strategy. The Fyre Festival, after it was forced to relocate, was scheduled on the same weekend as another huge event in the Bahamas. This created many issues for organizers, like limited transportation and housing available for their guests.

8. Make sure you trust your team

When everything started to unravel, people on the team realized what was happening. They put in so much hard work only to find out that they’d been played. Someone started leaking inside information onto a website, designed to expose the festival founder as a fraud. A key takeaway from this is to make sure you can trust your team. More than that, make sure everyone is on the same page and is comfortable with the plan.

9. Don’t delete negative feedback from your audience

Here is a big one – as tempting as it is to just make that negative feedback disappear, don’t do it. People who are paying attention enough to give you feedback at all are going to notice if you take it down. When the festival was just a few days away and attendees still didn’t know exactly where to fly to, had not seen any pictures of where they were staying or received information on what they needed to pack, they naturally started asking questions. At this point, they were being ignored because the festival organizers had no answers. Naturally, people were pissed and posting negative feedback on social media. As stated in my point above, someone already exposed the festival’s shortcomings, so some people had an idea that perhaps they should back out. However, they’d already spent thousands of dollars to go.

10. Have a team that stands by you no matter what

Despite all of his many mistakes, McFarland picked dedicated people to work with him. He had people on his team who were willing to do almost anything to help the festival succeed. Literally, anything. Even when everything was falling apart, his team players had his back until the very end. What amazed me the most was that even though many of them didn’t get paid, and literally worked their asses off for nothing, they still found positive things to say about their fearless, fraudulent, leader.

What was your greatest takeaway from the Fyre Festival execution? Share your top things marketers can learn from the Fyre Festival fail in the comments below!

Benefits of a Website Audit

I’ve survived! After hacking through (literally) millions of URLs, sifting through insurmountable amounts of spreadsheets, and wading my way through site crawls, I’ve finally completed my first full audit of a website. While, I know that description might scare you away, I actually had a ton of fun digging into the meat of one our many awesome websites. Not only was I able to diagnose issues to tackle in the future, but I was also able to learn more about our website and company than ever before! A website audit is certainly a big endeavor, but it could be exactly what your company needs in 2019. Below we’ll take a look at some of the best benefits of a website audit.

Benefits of a Website Audit

What is a Website Audit?

Before we can climb the mountain that is a website audit, we first need to know what it is? Similar to an SEO audit, which I covered in the past, a website audit takes a look at your entire site from multiple angles. You’ll take a look at things like content, functionality, link building, and other aspects of your site that provide the foundation of your brand. Below we’ll take a look at some of the most important benefits of a website audit.

Overall Website Health

Like our own bodies, some ailments affecting your site might not present many symptoms on the surface. Luckily, a website audit could detect issues that could cripple your website down the road. It can help detect navigation issues. For example, you might not be leading your consumers to the correct landing pages. Ideally, a full website audit will catch this. It also identifies potential gaps in content structure, technical gaps, and website speed. The overall health of your website is something that should be examined every year. Whether it’s a broken plug-in, large videos, or simply a messy landing page, one of the biggest benefits of a website audit is the ability to diagnose an ailing site.

Content Audit

We’ll get into the SEO aspect shortly, but let’s first just take a look at the raw content. One of the biggest benefits of a website audit is finding content gaps. A content gap is essentially a topic that you might not be covering on your site. For instance, if your site deals with cooking, you might want to consider a section devoted to cooking schools. This will help you generate more traffic and ideally, more conversions on your site.  You’ll also want to check for duplicate content as well, which can hurt you from an SEO standpoint, but we’ll touch on that shortly.

benefits of a website audit

You also need to be looking at the quality of your content as well. Website crawlers with Google are aware of content that is not valuable, short, and repetitive and will penalize the website and search rankings for content that is seen as inferior. If the content on your website is deemed low-level, it will not rank high in the search rankings. A website audit will help you identify this thin content. Then, you can beef it up and rank for even more keywords in the future!

SEO content Audit

I’ve mentioned it before, but an SEO audit should be an essential part of your website audit. Since a good portion of traffic depends on Google, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your SEO is up to snuff. This can include things like using the correct keywords, interlinking, and link building. This is also a good time to perform a link audit. This will help you find broken links and link building opportunities. Are there any SEO practices in use on your site that are known to generate a red flag or penalty from Google that could hurt your site rank? This is also the time to look for those spammy links that could potentially harm your site.

Another SEO aspect you want to consider is your URL structure. You want your URLs to look as clean and concise as possible to Google can crawl them. They should include the keyword you’re ranking for. They also should have the proper coding to avoid duplicate content and to ensure Google isn’t wasting time crawling unnecessary pages.

There’s certainly a lot more that goes into a complete site audit, but these tips should help you get on your way. Do you have any more benefits of a website audit to provide? Comment below!

Three Best Things to Happen at the TrackFive Holiday Party

Have you ever had one of those warm, content feelings in the pit of your stomach as you realize you are exactly where you are meant to be? This is the best way I can think of to describe the TrackFive holiday party. Although we have different company events throughout the year, this is by far the highlight – even for those who aren’t crazy about the holiday season. The team gets dressed up and goes to a fully catered event at a classy restaurant. We get to share food, drinks, gifts, and so much laughter. We forget about the grind of work and just relax and enjoy the unique group of people that we work with. Everyone brings their significant other too, which really opens the door to us bonding on a more personal level. As the company grows, somehow this event remains a cozy, intimate evening in the heart of downtown Lancaster.

Top Highlights of the TrackFive Holiday Party

This year was extra special. Check out the top highlights of the 2018 TrackFive holiday party!

trackfive holiday party

1. Our Florida team came to visit

The holiday party is one of the few times in the year that our entire company is together. We make the people who work in Florida fly up here and suffer in the cold with us. Having them in the office all day, and then being able to spend casual time with them in the evening at the party really helps create unity. When you have two offices so far apart, it is really challenging to make sure the same company culture exists in both places. It’s also hard to feel like one solid team. Times like this, when we can all be together, are vital to overcoming those challenges. We have teams who are communicating and working together daily, yet have never met face to face. It’s always fun to meet those people in person. And what better way than to bond over great food, drinks, and the spontaneous karaoke after party?

2. We’re getting new benefits

The second-best thing that happened during the holiday part is that we finally got to hear about the big changes coming to our benefits in 2019. Our president revealed our new benefits to us at the holiday party. We’ve known for a long time that this was in the works, and by some miracle, it was kept a secret until the night of the party. This made the event really exciting. Although we already have some of the best benefits around, like our health insurance paid for in-full, TrackFive is adding a really cool new feature to the benefit plan. We have something like an ala-cart package deal, where you can pick from a selection of benefits up to a certain value. Some of our options are student loan or wellness reimbursement, and even a few unique ones like pet insurance! We have lots of pet lovers here at TrackFive, so this is a pretty cool idea.

3. SPOILER ALERT: We’re rebranding!

The most exciting part of the entire night was that we are rebranding! A challenge we run into a lot as a company is finding an efficient and clear way to explain what we do. For this reason, we decided it was time to rebrand and reform our message. It’s been more than 10 years since the company was founded, so it’s time for a facelift. We partnered with a local branding firm here in Lancaster, and we all got to see the new logo at the party. Sorry – we can’t show you just yet, but the rebrand will be official in the new year, so be sure to check it out then!

Want to learn more about what it’s like to work at TrackFive? Check out our current job openings!