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A Start-Ups Social Media Survival Guide

So you’ve started your business. You’ve got the website, you’ve got the graphics and fancy branding, and you’re now ready to connect and push the concept live. So you sign up for all the social media platforms you can think of, start posting pictures of your logos and follow Richard Branson and any other famous people you can think of. Fast forward two weeks and you’re frustrated nobody has noticed you. You’ve hit a maximum of a few likes a post, and no matter how many accounts you’re following and supporting, you just aren’t gaining followers.

If this sounds familiar, then don’t worry because you’re not alone. 86% of start-ups take to social media to market themselves, and there’s good reason for this. With 328 million monthly users on Twitter and 1.2 billion on Facebook, it’s the only space imaginable where you can talk to such a large audience. That’s if the audience are listening. In 2017 you’re competing more than ever to not be a tiny fish in a huge sea of users.  We’ve devised the top tips all start-ups should be adhering to when it comes to their social media set up, to help small businesses get heard online.

We will be covering: 

  • How to choose your channels
  • How to optimise your channels
  • How to find your audience
  • How to expect engagement
  • Best content creation & promotion practices

Choose Your Channels

Not all platforms are necessary for all businesses. You need to do some research into where your audience are. For example, if your target audience are over 50’s, it’s unlikely you’d need to invest time in an Instagram account seeing as a whopping 90% of users are under 30. You also want to think about what each platform is doing, for example Instagram and Pinterest are primarily visual, ideal for a creative business.  The Pew Research Center has an excellent breakdown of where your audience spends their time online. It’s not difficult to find studies and infographics that provide information on specific platforms or other countries.

Optimise Your Channels

Optimising your accounts should be the first thing you are doing once signing up. That means having a relevant and professional icon/profile image, such as your brand logo or anything that clearly makes you recognisable as you. We will be talking more about brand image and professionalism later, but it’s important to straight away set the benchmark by matching your branding and image on social media to your website. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are now also offering the option of a cover photo- which is a further chance to translate who you are in an image.
Bio’s are also easily overlooked. There’s not necessarily rules when it comes to this, but to stay safe, going with your location (not exact address just e.g, Cambridgeshire) and a quick sentence or two summarising who you are and what you do, will always be a winner. There’s room to get more creative with a bio once you’ve found your feet a little on the platform.

Take giant fast fooders Wendy’s for example, they have a fun yet informative bio. They’ve also matched their background cover photo really nicely with their logo- and even chosen their profile theme colouring to be red, to match with their brand colours. Never forget to utilise the space for a link to your website also!

Your Summary:

  • Research which channels your audience are on
  • If you’re not familiar with social media, make sure you understand the different platforms
  • Optimise your profiles to make sure you reach all searchers

Follow People Who Care About You

Following real accounts run by real people who are caring and engaging in the same ideas as you, is the key to gaining back legitimate followers.

It’s tempting to just spam follow a bunch of accounts, as statistically, you will get follows back, but this is never a good idea in the long run. Not only will your account get disabled if you follow vast numbers of accounts in a short space of time, you’re also not gaining an interactive audience. An interactive audience will be the key to using your social media for business success (We will be covering why your follower count shouldn’t be your top priority in a bit) and should be the focus point of gaining followers.

Finding those who care, can be also be as straight forward as searching for key terms on the platform, and looking at accounts that have tagged or used this word in their profile or images. For example on Instagram, if I’m a jewellery shop, I may be searching for hashtags such as ‘jewellerylover’ then following some of those accounts that have used it, as they clearly are into jewellery and may thus be interested in the jewellery i’m selling.

There are some great tools out there to help you do advanced searches further to get to your right audience such as Moz’s Followerwonk, who we’ve written a whole article on. With this tool you can investigate your own audience, potential audience and your competitors. Bare in mind your location too. Even if they aren’t directly related to your business, you want to be following your local newspapers, magazines, clubs and groups on social media so you can become part of the community. Many towns have their dedicated Twitter page that re post and engage with local businesses.

You also want to be paying attention to the top dogs in your industry and supporting and following them. What they are doing is clearly working. You can also use this as a chance to nab some of their followers, who if they like your competitor, you know are going to like you. Again, we covered more on how to do these sort of tactics here.

Your Summary:

  • Spend some time browsing relevant tags and pages for your business that help you find your audience and learn what the experts are doing.
  • Use tools that enable keyword research to locate precise profiles to be following
  • No spam following and liking. This includes automated tools that do this!

It’s Not All About The Numbers

It can be easy to judge your success on a channel based on your follower count, but it’s vital to remember that having loads of followers will not necessarily mean more engagement, if these followers are not those that are going to care about you. As we mentioned earlier, statistically if you’re following a huge number, you will get some followers back. What is important, is focusing on the engagement of these followers, and what ( content, posts) makes them engage with you. Paying attention to the content that works, could mean it takes one re tweet from an influencer to gain you lots of valuable interactive followers.

We all remember when Kim Kardashian replied to a fan on twitter and he soon gained 200 thousand followers. Yep you read that right. Granted, Kim does have 55 million followers, but the point remains that it can take one moment of notice to change your whole following. This won’t be happening by having loads of spam followers, but through creating content that is inspiring and that gets you noticed. An organic audience will also be an audience that are caring and clicking through to your website, which is arguably part of the main focus of having social media for a business in the first place.

Understand Your Audience

The key to creating content on social media that will get engagement, is understanding what sort of content your target audience are loving. If you know their demographics as we discussed earlier, this will make this part of the job a lot easier. Using the analytics tools available on your platforms is the most accessible and often insightful way to gain information on your audience and their engagement with you. We love this infographic from Hot In Social Media which summarises the channels adults and teenagers spend most of their time on. There’s a lot of data like this out there that you can use to make decisions.

Tracking the behaviour of your audience is also key to understanding them. For example if at a particular date you tried particular tactics of imagery or memes and this gained you more views, re-tweets and click throughs- then you know that this sort of approach can work again. Regularly checking your analytics to see progress will be the key to working out what you can improve on.
As well as understanding your audience, listen to what trends and news are taking place online also. Track popular hashtags and events, so if there’s an opportunity for you to jump on and join in, you can go ahead and increase your reach. Your audience may be also frequently using certain trends so it’s worth bearing these in mind and tracking them.

Your Summary:

  • Focus on the engagement analytics you receive over your follower count
  • Anlayse success and failure of content strategies to ensure progress
  • Research what sort of content your audience are loving
  • Track popular trends to find popular content

Strategy & Scheduling

The most successful social media accounts tend to be the ones that feel the most natural and personable, but clearly also have a structure and know what they are doing. Scheduling content with tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite allows you to plan ahead and have automated content regularly coming from your accounts. We are personally a huge fan of Buffer, as it’s easy to use and simple. You can also track the results of your posts too.

This can be a great way to stay organised, but it has to be done right. Content scheduled at the same time, everyday, saying the same or similar things can appear spammy and robotic. Social media is so loved because it’s where people ‘hang out’ and relax a bit more, so you need to have this approach too.By all means, using scheduling tools can be a lifesaver to save someone from remembering to tweet or to plan ahead for that lead up to a big event.

Scheduling will become easier, when there’s a strategy in place. This should be outlined before anything is going live on your social media. If you have multiple team members contributing to the social media accounts, they all need to understand this too. Strategy in what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say and what is off limits, is vital to protect brand image and what you stand for. You need to remain streamlined to your brand identity as a company on social media. Sure, it’s a space to be more personable and friendly, but you don’t want to appear a completely different brand and drop everything you stand for. We’ve done a whole article on brands that have made these sort of mistakes, and they certainly payed the price.

Once you’ve outlined what is acceptable, you can get more technical and start to devise actual content strategies. Important points to help devise a strategy will likely include points such as current affairs.  What big events are coming up for the world or for you as a company? Alongside this, what is your business trying to achieve or push out right now? Once you’ve answered the sort of questions your marketing team are talking about a lot of the time, you can get creative and start thinking of content to correspond with these ideas.

Your Summary:

  • Schedule content to maintain an active presence
  • Outline clearly what the expectations are for your brand on social media
  • Mirror business goals on social media to push the brand

Promotion

Once you’ve got your content thought out and scheduled, you can think about how you are going to push it. There is no more annoying feeling than spending time creating quality content for it to go unnoticed. We’ve talked about how this is unlikely, if you have the correct followers and are using content strategies effectively. However, sometimes there are some promotional tactics that can be undertaken to speed up your engagement.

Most platforms offer their own version of advertising. These adverts which are designed and launched within the social media platform, often allow you to target specific groups of people so you can pitch to your exact target audience. You can choose your budget and a time length for the advert, and also track the progress and click throughs the advert received. These can also be particularly useful if you are trying to encourage your followers to spend some time on your website, as you can design the adverts to allow users to click through to pages on your site.

Organic ways to gain promotion can be as simple as getting the right people to repost your content. As we’ve seen, all it takes is an influencer to notice you, and your account can instantly explode with engagement. Talking directly (@ing) to influencers can be difficult however for obvious reasons, but the best way to get in front of people will always be by producing original and genuine content that carries a message and inspires others. It’s human to want to share what you love, so create content you know will be enjoyed.

We think we’ve covered the basics here to get you started, but be sure to keep an eye out on our blog for in depth pieces on mastering social media. We hope you’ve been inspired, and remember, if any of this seems overwhelming – Edge are here to help. With experience in social media marketing for a variety of companies, we love nothing more than getting stuck into a new social media campaign.

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Quick Run Through of Web Design Trends in 2017 So Far

With us now over half way through the year (yes, that’s a scary but true statement) we thought it was about time to do a roundup of the website design trends the industry has experienced so far.

At Edge we are all about latest innovations and ways of doing things, but we definitely also have our feet firmly stuck on the ground when it comes to what we think is too far and impractical. Here are some of the cool new concepts that have taken a stand in 2017, that we also think are eligible and useful for a large number of web projects.

Creative Contrasts

2016’s colour pallet of choice for most designers seemed to largely consist of a sea of 121 different shades of grey. So far this year, things seem to be changing (thankfully).

Contrasting, bold and bright colours seems to be the way to go, with the more obscure the match, the better. We actually enjoyed this idea around this time last year, when we designed a new website for skin care brand Aspire & Co. The use of our colours for that design has been featured on designshack.net and more.

 

Space, Space & More Space

All designers will be well aware of the all important ‘white space’, which can make or break how great something looks on the page. The need for white space seems to be expanding, with a range of new websites becoming more and more minimalist, with a lot of space and not a lot of anything else going on.

We actually love this concept, as lovers of the ‘less is more’ philosophy, there are some beautiful designs out there that are so simple.

Gradients

Although a concept not so popular with the minimalist approach,  leading creatives are choosing gradients to spice up a design. This is actually a major part of our design for our brand new website, which will be on it’s way shortly. There aren’t any  rules for use of gradients either, making it fun.

They could include multiple colours, radiate from the centre, come from a corner or fall horizontally. And this could be a whole background or just a slither. The options with gradients are endless.

 

Let the Video tell the Story

Something that is hard not to notice, as it’s now often filling up a whole landing page, is videos. They’ve been around for a long time, but now not only are they being used to tell a story, they are also just there for the background as a sort of moving template carried through the site.

Originally not too keen on the concept, it’s grown a lot on us as long as it’s done well and doesn’t distract from everything else on the website. A beautiful filter (or gradient) can add an amazing design feature and look a lot cleaner.

Bespoke Illustrations 

The use of cheesy stock imagery is a big no for any designer, but it seems photography all together has gone out the window. More and more you will see doodles or sketches replacing imagery, often from the work of professional illustrators.

It’s a clever way to stand out, define your brand and have something a little quirky on your site, all through drawing. You could even pick up a pencil and create your own masterpiece.

We are sure that we’ve probably only touched the surface here, with so many amazing design ideas and trends out there already this  year, these are just once that have particularly caught our eye. Let us know which trends you are becoming fond of.

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Social Media Mishaps – The Mistakes The World Saw

We all make mistakes, and understanding why is often the key to ensuring they don’t reproduce.

In an industry that relies on humans to create strategies, ideas and campaigns, clear communication is key and if the message is confused or not well thought out, disaster can strike.

With the online world as savage as it is, it is hard for brands to hide when they make marketing mistakes, even if they are harmless and unintended. Edge picked some of the most memorable mistakes that will hopefully help you avoid a similarly embarrassing situation.

We don’t have anything against any of the brands we have discussed here, and if anything they just prove that we are all human and all need to at times take a step back and review communication more carefully.

From the cringe-worthy to the technical mishaps, our favourite mini nightmares, looking at what went wrong, helps you work out what is right.

 


Terrible Twitter

Earlier this month Twitter ground to a halt when national crisp giant Walker’s Twitter campaign spectacularly backfired. The #WalkersWave campaign was a simple enough concept: give Twitter users the chance to win tickets for the Champions League Final in Cardiff. By tweeting a selfie to Walkers, an automated system would respond from @WalkersCrisps with a video featuring Gary holding up a photo of their face, inserted into the video.

Unfortunately,  trolls of Twitter enjoyed sending in selfies of serial killers and sex offenders, which due to the automation of the campaign meaning all entries got automatically published, it didn’t take Twitter long to spot the unexpected faces.

Lesson: Automation is easy and quick, but it does mean there’s no time to filter out any inappropriate received content. If the campaign was manual, these images would have been reviewed and spotted before they were thrown onto the official Walker’s Twitter page. It’s also clear to never assume the internet is mature because as this failure showed, there will always be trolls ready to take advantage, even if it is in bad taste.

 

Campaign Continuation 

Walker’s immediately took down the campaign and all content surrounding it shortly after it was clear it was not being received as expected. The same can’t be said for American Apparel, who have received numerous moments of backlash over the past few years for accusations of sexualising young girls and children in their advertisement of clothes. Although admitting their initial wrongdoing, the brand continued with campaigns that time after time received a negative response from the public. It’s pretty common sense for most marketers to stop something that isn’t working, but it seems American Apparel didn’t get the memo. Publishing more advertisements deemed exploitative, they even received numerous ASA bans and refusals of publication due to their images.

Lesson: The company were able to prove that their models were in fact over age, but there’s still a lesson to be learnt here that thinking carefully about how your campaigns will be received before making them viral, is probably a smart idea. We all see things differently, and evidently, a lot of people disagreed with the stance the brand took to advertise and the models they chose.

 

Insensitivity

Many strategists are well aware of the benefits of latching onto any current news or affairs that could give their brand a little boost. There are, however, clearly some events that shouldn’t be utilised for business advantage, and clothing giant Gap came under fire for this during storm Sandy. Assuming everyone was sheltering indoors, they released a well intended harmless comment that people can instead shop online, but of course, for those affected and facing devastation due to the hurricane, it was hardly a well thought out comment.

On a similar note, McDonald’s were also labelled as exploiting tragic events by adding messages to their billboards including ‘we remember 9/11’ and ‘we stand by Boston’ after the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. It may seem a good idea to show everyone you too are also anti-terrorism, but when you’re a global brand that is trying to sell stuff, people will be quick to assume you’re just trying to gain attention from unfortunate causes, which is what happened to McDonald’s.

 

Trying to Play The Hero

Starbuck’s digital and physical race together campaign launched in 2015 had good intentions, to encourage those to engage in discussing race issues with baristas. A harmless idea made to bring local communities together, the coffee giant actually ended up dropping the campaign after just six days when it became clear many saw the topic too broad and important to be stamped on coffee cups as a promotion for the brand. Of course, it’s so important to be able to express matters that mean a lot to your brand, and launching campaigns to raise awareness of them can often see great results.

Lesson: It seems on this occasion though that Starbucks was just a little too big for their boots thinking they could end race discrimination through scrawling the slogan on their cups and asking costumers to chat about the topic. Sensitive issues need to be addressed appropriately or not at all if they are to be included in a strategy, and it seems the coffee cup idea just wasn’t well thought out enough.

 

Careful Humour

We know that sometimes a clever joke can help engage an audience terrifically, but knowing the difference between when something is witty and offensive is very important. MTV Australia utilised 2016G ‘Golden Globes’ event to share their opinion on the night, one of which did not go down very well. Asking their followers where the subtitles were as they couldn’t understand two of the female winners, was met with backlash labelling the account racist and unacceptable. The brand did later respond which an apology.

Lesson: We all know that words typed out can sound very different to real speech, so thinking carefully about the tone of a comment will ensure you don’t end up accidentally offending anyone. What may seem a casual joke to some, can be grossly inappropriate for others. If you’re not sure how it’ll be received, it’s probably safest to not share it.

 

Live up To Your Campaign

Many of us will remember Amazon’s recent #PrimeDayFail. Spending weeks campaigning and promoting the event which they publicly said would gain more sales than Black Friday put together, customers were deeply disappointed when the day came around and online stock resembled a ‘garage sale.’ Having spent the time campaigning that users can expect great products with great discounts, they were setting their standards high and definitely didn’t manage to meet them. Numerous reports, although not verified, suggest Amazon’s revenue that night was drastically less than they expected.

Lesson: If you’re going to produce a ‘countdown’ style campaign that promotes and builds excitement for a certain day or event, it’s important to give an accurate expectation so users aren’t left confused when the real deal is far from what was promoted and promised. Amazon did prove however that successful run-up campaigning will lead to interest, as they did have thousands logging on to buy when they launched.

In conclusion, it’s clear most marketing mistakes are very much unintended, and marketing is often learning from our mistakes to generate something awesome that works. We all make mistakes, but as long as we are analysing mistakes carefully, we can at least bank of not making them again.

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How To Use Moz Followerwonk- Your Basic Guide

Many of us are competent with other Moz Tools, but a tool that is perhaps not as spoken about is Followerwonk. Changing how digital marketers can manage their social media accounts for clients, the tool has a number of useful integrations that when used smartly, can make a great deal of difference. It can seem a complex tool at first, but it is really very easy to use once you understand the different aspects of it. To help you wrap your collective heads around it, we have some of the top basic tricks that you can do with Followerwonk.

Find Your Audience

Attracting the correct followers to your account can often be the most time-consuming task for a social media manager. You may have a great idea of what your audience is, but aside from ensuring your tweets have the search visibility to be found by these individuals, it can be hard to unite your target audience with your channel. It can be frustrating seeing your following growing so slowly, but often this is simply because you are not reaching the right people.

Moz’s bio search means you can type in key terms that you know your target audience will likely be using, and it’ll bring up a list of profiles that use these terms, either in their Twitter profile bio, or just in their tweets in general. As well as finding your followers by key terms, you can search by location, and even job title.
For example, if I am trying to get small business owners to follow an account on Twitter, there’s a decent chance a lot of these people will list themselves as a ‘small business owner’ on their profile.

As you can see, once the tool gathers the information, you have a number of options to then filter the profiles you would like to see. Whether that is narrowing it down to those with a small or large following, the time their account has been active or their ‘social authority’ (estimating similar to how Domain Authority works, the status of that profile) there are a number of ways to find the right people with this tool.

Of course, you may not want to hit the follow button on every single profile brought up, but out of the selection, there are bound to be a few potential leads on there, that if carefully looked after, could be a conversion, whether that is through engagement or following them and hoping for a follow back.

Get Your Competitors Followers

Probably a personal favourite out of the lot, the ‘analyse users’ tool means you can track who your competitors are following, and who are following them. This has worked wonders for me in the past, as it’s pretty to safe bet that if these profiles are following your competitor which does the same sort of thing as you do, then they are going to naturally want to know about you also, so there is the potential for a large gaining of followers.

For example, if you’re a jewellery business looking to find jewellery lovers who may want to buy your products, the followers of industry giants such as Pandora are likely to be individuals who could be interested in you.

Obviously, this can also be done manually on Twitter itself, but rather than having to scroll through hundreds of profiles, the filters in the tool means you can access certain followers instantly, by location, keywords they use, gender, age and much more, so you aren’t just viewing all the followers of a competitor profile.

As well as analysing your competitor’s followers, you can also learn more about the competitor through the ‘analyse their tweets’ option, letting you see the most authoritative accounts that have mentioned them, and who they most commonly engage with.  Seeing their most important tweets can also help you strategize your social media content better, by seeing what works well for your competitors and what you could be doing to to engage with a similar audience.

De-Clutter

A popular topic at the moment is ‘ghost followers’ being accounts that lay dead and inactive, often for unknown purposes, alongside the ever problematic spam accounts. Instead of having to crawl through your following to see what seems dodgy, Followerwonk’s  ‘sort followers’ allows you to track through followers with filters, as well as being able to view only those who follow you back or who don’t.

If you’re noticing your account news feed becoming cluttered of irrelevant accounts, you can also track through who you are following, to see there’s anyone worth unfollowing. Being able to maintain followers and following easily, through selected categories is definitely a worthwhile reason to utilise Followerwonk, especially if you manage profiles with a very large following.

Track Progress

It’s all good and well doing social media effectively, but if you can’t see and understand the results to show your clients, there isn’t much point. Tracking progress of social media accounts can be difficult, as it’s harder to put figures and stats on than say, a website.

The track followers tool shows you easy-to-read graphs showing your growth (or decline) and followers you have lost and gained in a certain time period. It can be particularly interesting to see who you’ve lost, and it can raise vital questions as to why they’ve decided to go.

This progress can all be put into reports as downloadable formats, so it will take no time at all to print off a report for a client and save you manually having to put together a table of information. For more even more details, if you analyse yourself against another profile in the analyse section, you’ll also be able to see the demographics and information of your followers. This can be really useful to uncover further who you should be reaching out too. You may think you know your audience, but after analysing the demographics you may realise it’s actually pretty different.

Track Progress Vs Competitors

Although not always necessary, it may be useful to sometimes be able to show your clients that their channels are doing better than those similar. This isn’t just saying ‘hey, we have more followers’ but could lead to being able to say ‘we are getting you more sales than X’.

As shown in the example here, alongside being able to show you how much more or fewer followers you may have compared to a competitor, you can also see if you have any in common, giving you an important indication of the ‘common’ audience for your industry.

Source Influencers

Hunting for influencers and those who could maybe give you a retweet now and then to circulate your account, can be difficult. Manually finding influencers that don’t just have a large following but are also relevant and not already too popular to notice you, can take a long time.

In the same way, you can use the search bios to find your potential followers, switching up the filters and searching for those with the highest social authority and the following can find potential influencers that can help your social media accounts grow.

For example, if I am trying to find a relevant blogger for a client in the fashion industry, searching in the key term fashion blogger will allow me to see influencers with a large following in this sector. Not all of these profiles will be a suitable match for you, but it can definitely give you an indication of the kind of key terms you should perhaps be revising in your search for influencers who are relevant and appropriate.

Followerwonk we are sure will continue to help social media enthusiasts enhance their social media accounts for some time. For more support on your social media campaign needs, contact the team at Edge today.

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Brighton SEO 2017: Top 3 Lessons Learnt

 

Last week the team were lucky enough to attend one of the world’s  most renowned digital marketing events in sunny Brighton. April 2017 saw the second time for Edge to attend, and there was definitely no disappointment this time round.

Aside from some of the great fun we had walking around Brighton and eating Vietnamese food (don’t worry, we will cover this too!) we also learnt some great tips and tricks during the conference. 

 

brighton seo 2017

brighton seo 2016

 

 

Money-free Link Building brighton seo 2016

Lifestyle blogger Sam Charles took to stage to explain from a bloggers point of view, all about how to link build and outreach to other bloggers. This was a perfect situation, hearing what is and isn’t a nice email to read all from the perspective of somebody that reads plenty, every day.

It’s fair to say there were a lot of do’s and don’t’s discussed, and most importantly, some actionables in the form of creative ideas to link build with. The three main focus points for any outreach pitch were discussed including the importance of offering a recourse or worthwhile cause in return and the concept of helping bloggers with free IT and WordPress advice if this is within the skills of your company. Building relationships were the key point in Sam’s talk, and it was refreshing to hear that becoming a friend and dropping the cold sales approach, is still very much possible with bloggers and influencers today.

 

brighton seo 2017
Philosophising Marketing

Possibly the most inspirational and eye-opening talk of the day was the keynote from Rory Sutherland. Other than being an incredibly animated and engaging speaker, he made some truly astounding comments that got our whole team thinking about marketing in the stance of behavioural economics.

The main points Rory covered revolved around the fact advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception of it, rather than the product itself. His point was that if this is the basis of our thinking, whilst doing our job as digital marketers, we can effectively create happiness and successful marketing results through how we make people feel and change. There were a lot of complex points and analogy in his talk, and we can’t wait to discover Rory’s philosophy towards marketing further in the future.

 

brighton seo 2017Importance of the Search Box

Bringing things back to basic, one of the other important key themes covered was the reminder of the power of the search box and that this ultimately holds the answer to what, as digital marketers, we need to be concentrating on.

What is written in the search box is what is wanted, so in partnerships with a strong sales team, marketers can excel in their job by working out what it will take to bring the answer to the user’s question in a search box to a conversion. Although obviously more detailed than this, this talk gave valuable insight into how stripping back digital marketing to the basics and simply trying to fill in the answer to questions typed into a search engine, will remain one of the most important ways to reach your audience.

 

brighton seo 2017

brighton seo 207

 

Aside from the conference, we had some great spontaneous Vietnamese food and cocktails at Pho, and enjoyed a few local pubs also. For fresh, fragrant food Pho would definitely be recommended, especially their take on a Mojito the ‘Phojito’ which incorporated clear rice spirit into the classic staple drink.

After a day of learning and coming back into the office inspired, the team are already very excited for the next trip to Brighton SEO. Until next year Brighton!

 

 

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The Guide to Clean, Minimal & Sleek Branding

2016 saw many trends take off when it comes to branding, from geometry incorporation in logos to badges and stamps dominating coffee shops, there were many interesting creations that we see a continuation of this year. Branding is something the whole team here at Edge love to get our teeth stuck into, and as we are growing some of our own client’s identity, we took a look back at some of our favourite brands that are going to grow even more in 2017,  and why their branding is so successful. Here are just some of the minimal, sleek logos and branding we have been enjoying this year so far, and what we can learn from them.

Le Brass

The feminine and minimalistic concept of start-up stationary brand Le Brass exhibits elements of contemporary minimalism design, reflected in their products and their logo. Beautiful stationary, beautiful branding, it’s heaven to our eyes. The aesthetic of this brand is largely so pleasing thanks to their smart choice in colouring, perfect letter spacing and simplicity in design. There’s something tranquil about their branding due to the rose gold text choice and the incomplete circle in the logo. Matching the colour blocked minimalist theme of their stationary, their logo matches the sophistication of their products well.

Lesson: Reflect your products. If you know what the products look like, then you can use this to create a matching and perfectly fitting branding strategy and logo.

 Mello Melon Juice

Just in time for the summer, start-up  Mello Melon juice has exploded in popularity. Alongside their ethics of fructose free and clean drinking from watermelon juice, the company understands how to stand out, with its logo format incorporating lettering spaced on two lines and a watermelon inside it. Mello Melon prove you can summarise a brand and have great design, in little space.

Small and simple, we love this little design that looks just as good on bottles as it does on paper.

Lesson: Use of space. Especially important if your logo is going to be plastered on objects that aren’t flat, thinking about how you can utilise space with variants of lines can make a big difference to a staple logo.

Method

It may not appear the most inspiring industry to brand for, but despite being a company that produces
cleaning and soap products, Method has changed how we view conventional home detox solutions forever. With their sleek packaging and vibrant design, the logo is now a global stamp of trustworthy, eco-friendly and fun looking cleaning tools.
Their products reflect their respect for the environment with organic and natural inspired imagery. The simple, clean typography and bold colouring make their logo a fun and fresh sight in the cleaning isle of the supermarket.

Lesson: Your branding can be whatever you want. It doesn’t matter what the products are, you have the power to choose how people view the company through design.

 

Caravan Kings Cross

Brands having their own stamp or badge is nothing new in the industry, but Caravan Kings Cross took the idea to a whole new level by introducing an almost shield format to their logo.

The simplicity of the lines crossing over with the C and K means they stay recognisable, with the slightly vintage colouring and texture promoting the industrial interior of the restaurant. Housed in a grade II listed Victorian Grain store, their aesthetic is no doubt inspired by the restaurant itself which very much exerts a vintage yet smart atmosphere.

 

Lesson: Be abstract. You don’t even have to use words or sentences. Creating art and memorable symbols work just as well, and in some cases, even better.

Aesop Skin Care

The phrase ‘less is more’ has shown to be the case with Aesop Skincare. An Australian skin care brand focused on using the finest plant based ingredients, Aesop’s approach is to promote simple yet effective skincare, reflected in their minimalist choice of logo.

The Optima font choice underlines the clean and natural principle the company believe in, with the smaller text and detailed labels adding to Aesop’s aesthetic of simple typography and appreciation for the written word.

Lesson: Typography is hugely important. The font choice of a logo or brand can reflect the uniqueness and originality of a company, and should not be a quick decision.

Jugen Wellness

It’s another juice product, but we couldn’t miss Jugen Wellness Bar. Proving the line art trend is here to stay, Jugen corporate their symbol with their round wheel logo as well as having their flat, boxy and clean version which gives the products their lavish sophisticated yet timeless feel.

With a variety of cleansing juices as well as health food products, the leaves and organic line design to create their icon, couldn’t fit the brand better. Able to be both text and an image, logos with symbols add more depth to a brand.

Lesson: Simple design art can greatly add depth and meaning to a logo and brand. Having a variety of options for logos, allows flexibility of purely text or a visual with text, giving the brand more variation.

 

 

Mench Living

Bringing Scandinavian, minimalist home interior inspiration to the UK, Mench Living acts a fine example of a modern and clean brand. The geometric inspired logo produces the image of a house, and the clean text enhances the minimalism and simplicity that Scandinavian design revolves around. With geometry being a key theme in their products, Mench is a good example of a brand that allows what they sell to represent them in a logo.

Lesson: Use of structure and shape. Branching out from simple concepts of spelling your company name out, shapes and diagrams can add extra depth to a brand.

 

Logo curation and branding will be a hot topic for a long time, and with new inspiration and start-ups each day, it’s something that will always continue to evolve.

For more information on how Edge can help your brand identity grow, contact us today.

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Successful Brand Photography: Do’s and Don’ts

 

Capturing the essence of a brand entails a lot more than streamlined logo usage, a website that reflects the brand identity, and a social media channel that expresses the brand’s held ethos and ideas. Anyone who has attempted to encapsulate a brand’s image would probably agree with the fact that there is rarely a simple tactic or technique that can magically seize and amplify everything the brand is about, visually and ethically.

With many successful brands choosing to move away from words and investing in visually exhibiting themselves through photography and media outlets, it isn’t much of a shock that 2017 is estimated to show 74% of digital marketers relying on visual content to drive their brand’s presence.

Most digital marketers appreciate and understand the importance of visual content, but applying this knowledge to the task of representing a whole brand through photography alone, can seem daunting. A recent project internally, which we are very excited to reveal soon, meant that I was submerged in the task of showcasing a brand’s story, success and knowledge, in photographs. Twenty-One thousand images later, some smart tips started to emerge, that may come in handy if you ever find yourself picking up a camera to do a brand photoshoot.

 

Don’t only focus on the wider picture

It’s very tempting to cram as much in of a location or scene as possible, to capture the big deal all at once. Although this can seem the simplest way to encapsulate something efficiently, it is often not the most effective. There’s a reason the trend of ‘guess the object’ took off in 2016, with thousands enjoying the illusions and quizzes that asked users to guess what the object was with only an incredibly zoomed in and detailed photograph as help.

There’s something a lot more telling and intriguing about texture and detail, that allows an aspect of mystery, surprise and personal interpretation. A personal favourite of mine, which is a perfect example of this, is Marks and Spencer and their advertisements over the years. Although they undoubtedly have an advantage, with delicious food being their industry to promote, their up close shots of products prove a nationwide hit each year, especially around the Christmas period. Capturing the fine details of a brand you don’t necessarily expect to see, can allow the whole institution to be viewed in a new, visually enticing alternative light.

 

 

It seems the cliche to obtain a whole restaurant-wide camera shot when shooting food related brands, so I made it my mission to capture the essence of a restaurant without simply taking a picture of the restaurant. That sentence may sound strange and illogical, but we all know what a restaurant looks like, with tables and chairs and probably some nice pictures on the wall. Honing in on the detail of a brand that makes it unique, whatever that detail may be- rather than an expected image, will be the key to creating something a little more independent and personal. Both of which at the end of the day- are the things that capsulate and speak about what the brand actually is.

 

Think outside the box

It seems that often being a little more abstract and obscure in your work can cause a great deal more interest than simply showcasing a product. Although it may be feel unnatural to be focusing on what isn’t directly a brand’s product, it is true that the unexpected draws more attention.

The ideal example of this that pops into my head every time, is Zara clothing. Their photography on their website is simply stunning. They don’t submit themselves to being in a category of a clothing site. Rather than basic, expected images of models wearing their clothes, they display diverse photography from exotic, unique and vibrant photo shoots, often unrelated to specific clothing items completely.

Rather than using a product to sell- they are using Zara’s beliefs and desired ‘look’, which is what creates a successful brand in the first place.

This greatly inspired me throughout photoshoots I have done. If it’s a clothing shop, don’t only take pictures of clothes. If it’s an ice cream shop don’t only take photos of ice cream. A brand is so much more than the products they sell, and realising this and capturing what makes up the brand apart from their products, will immensely help produce work that displays the brand’s identity without blatant product promoting. Obviously, it is important to get the gist of what the brand is trying to promote, but being able to include more obscure, perusal aspects of the brand is bound to draw more attention and interest. You may also have to do some digging to find out exactly what the brand’s story is behind their products and ideas, as it may not be obvious at first.

 

 

Don’t Hide Your Brand by Over Editing Images

If you’re relying on multiple images to capture a brand, it is important to make sure there is some aspect of streamlined imagery running through. It is, therefore, tempting to simply place a filter over all of your images to make them all appear the same scheme. Similar to how you would make sure the logo and brand colours remain similar or the same throughout all company work, ensuring this recognisability through imagery is important but can be risky. Filtering and over editing images could come across as inauthentic, which will not help brand trust and relationships with consumers.

There’s nothing I can’t stand more than when it is obvious a photographer has placed the same filter over a series of images, completely reducing the raw edge which could have been branded focal point of promotion. Everybody knows about photoshop nowadays, so instead of trying to perfect everything to the point it looks fake, why not just celebrate the real thing.

 

Obviously, editing can go a long way, but rather than apply a filter or standard across all images, looking out for colours and tones that seem streamlined in real life, will make your editing job a lot less extensive and appear rawer. In Morgan Davies Bridal shop, it was obvious to me that the cool blue tones combined with creams stood out to give the shop it’s luxurious and sophisticated feel, which also happens to be largely what the brand stands for.

The White Company gets this right and is all for natural minimal tones to conjure up their image, creating a fresh and clean image, relevant to the products they sell and their brand identity.

 

Do Balance Being a Witness & in Control

Depending on where you are shooting, you may have a variety of responsibility when comes to setting up a shoot or whether you are simply acting as an observer to what already exists.Rearranging a brand’s headquarters may not make you popular, but if it is an option, take the opportunity to optimise your space. If it’s needed, never be afraid to set yourself up to the ideal backdrop and set.

I do, however, think it is important to balance this with allowing the brand to be as ‘normal’ and as natural as possible. In the majority of cases, being a witness to what is happening and capturing these organically produced moments, will produce much more relevant images that reflect the brand, than set up scenes and ideas.

Although it obviously was staged and not accidently witnessed, Lloyds Banking recent advert got the right idea at allowing a brand to shine through by producing imagery that shows their values without throwing a product in the face of the audience. In a piece that saw the viewers seemingly just being a witness to a scene, Lloyds incorporated the idea of taking a back seat and watching scenes unfold to produce the core of the brand’s image naturally.

It can be tricky to get the balance between making sure you obtain the correct items or ‘vibe’ to allow you to capture the brand image, with also keeping it as real and unproduced as possible! Having an idea about the brand beforehand, and having an eye for what is going to naturally look great without change needed, will make this dilemma a lot easier to tackle. At Gatefold Record Lounge, taking advantage of the natural light pouring in from the window meant I was utilising the scene without having to invade too much.

 

 

 

Summary

Key Questions to ask yourself in preparation for a brand shoot:

  • What are the brand’s personal beliefs and thoughts that could be inspirational?
  • What do they have or do that is a little different from anybody else in their industry?
  • What does their current branding represent and how is it doing this?
  • What tones, emotions or ideas are going to be the focus to best represent this brand?

Top tips to a successful brand photoshoot:

  • Don’t be afraid to get personal and delve deeper into a brand’s story and ethos. If you don’t ask,
    you’ll only be left with the superficial and cold- not the marketable or relatable material.
  • Get your thinking cap on prior to arrival, with any creative ideas or setups you want to do pre-arranged.
  • Take your time. If you’re rushed and short for time, you won’t have the time to capture the special moments as they
    arrive.

And Finally,

  • Take lots of images, and have fun. Despite these personal thoughts, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to capture a brand through photography.
    Like any other art, focus on the thought behind the physical, and it will be hard to go wrong.

To learn more about how Edge Digital can provide photography to help grow your brand’s presence and marketing recourse, contact us today.

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Top 4 Inspirational Valentine’s Day Campaigns

Valentine’s day is a popular seasonal event, on which the majority of well-known brands usually participate with their marketing. From product discounts and new ranges to exclusive packages and releases – there are many conventional marketing ideas for this time of year.

This year however, many brands are stepping up from simply promoting their products, and are choosing to promote inspirational ideas and messages they stand for instead, incorporating these into their Valentine’s Day campaigns.

Edge Digital are bringing you the top four most heartwarming marketing campaigns seen this year so far for the iconic day, which will be sure to put a smile on your face.

 

1. Supporting All Love

Lush Cosmetics is known for its vegan ethical stance which is against animal testing- but this year they used their Valentine’s Day marketing campaign to showcase another topic they are passionate about.

Featuring same-sex couples in their adverts for the special day’s product range, social media exploded with delight and love for the brand’s message.  Using the hashtag ‘love is love’ Lush posted the images on Instagram, with some of the best social media response and success witnessed so far for the company. Not being afraid to stand up for their beliefs whilst releasing gorgeous new products – what’s not to love?

 

2. Loving Your World

For Valentines Day the Fairtrade Campaign Organisation suggests we show love to those far away as well as close to us. Empowering and appreciating the Fairtrade artisan farmers who are striving to protect our environment and producing high-quality goods in a fair and humane workplace, the organisation offers a downloadable Valentines Day card to send out to farmers.

With images from three amazing Fairtrade businesses, the campaign also encourages users to post one of their choice, with the hashtag ‘FTCampaigns’ to spread the awareness of the goodness and love that goes into making each product from the range.

 

3. Love Yourself

Fashion to Figure is a making a statement this year; you don’t need someone else to love you this Valentines Day. Promoting evening wear for the special day, the brand’s new range is modelled by some of the latest up-and-coming plus size models in the industry.

The stylish photoshoots prove you don’t have to be a certain size to rock sexy Valentine’s Day wear this year, or have a significant other to wear it for. We love how invested in promoting self-confidence Fashion To Figure are, using a date where the world is searching for love to tell people we can love ourselves, and look amazing doing it.

 

4. Love Food, Love Feeding

As a concept expanding to many global top restaurants, The End World Hunger Project has reserved tables on the night of February 14th which they’ll be auctioning off to the highest bidder on Ebay. Apart from allowing couples a spot at their favourite restaurant for Valentines Day, The Hunger Project’s mission is to end world hunger by 2030.

All proceeds will go to programs empowering the poorest and most marginalised people in Africa, India and Bangladesh. Whilst many of us will be enjoying a romantic meal out with a partner on Valentines Day, in a society that loves eating – this campaign is helping others eat too.

 

 

Whatever the type of love you’re celebrating, whether it’s for a partner or something a little more metaphorical, these brands have used Valentines Day creatively, to address their thoughts on current world issues or ideas. Spreading opinion and values is a lot more powerful than simply promoting gifts and products, and these brands have shown that this is possible for any major seasonal event.

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Slack To Teams and Back Again

Recently, Edge Digital undertook a process they are not too fond of: change. We said goodbye to our much loved internal messaging system Slack and ventured to try something new- ‘Microsoft Teams’. This wild adventure for Edge did not last long. One month and six days, to be approximate.

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Digital Marketing for Christmas: Top 5 Tips.

Marketing at Christmas. It’s an opportunity all brands jump on. Digital Marketing in the festive season is, however, a lot more than just boosting promotions that relate to your products being Christmas presents. Edge Digital have top 5 tactics that provide the most genuine and successful approach to engaging with an audience at Christmas.

Target Locally With Facebook Adslocal ads

We are all on the look out for inspiration and gift ideas in the run up to Christmas, and as 23% of consumers admit that social media introduced them to a new brand, it only makes sense to use it as the perfect place to get in front of your customers. Everybody is always busy. Nobody is going to travel far to look for gifts when they can see by scrolling through Facebook, that there is somewhere nearby where they can get exactly what they’re looking for. You can also add local context to your promotions, such as maps, directions and call to action options, which can be incredibly effective.

Start a Video Campaignchristmas advert

Christmas videos and television adverts have become a staple must have for the big brands out there . We all wait patiently all year round for our much-loved brands to release their Christmas advert. Although your budget may be considerably smaller than the big companies, everyone can jump on the bandwagon of creating Christmas related videos. There’s a reason they are so popular! You can show creativity, humour and sentiment in a short two-minute video clip. Showing what your brand cares about, whilst doing it through the booming marketing technique of video production, is the perfect combination.

25 Days of Sociachristmas social medial Media

Social media as we know is vital all year round, but the run-up to the big day offers a unique opportunity to engage your audience daily, in advent calendar style. From daily promotions and giveaways to promising a new post or snippet of information, if you’re creative and organised, you can be sure to keep your followers on their toes as well as attracting a new audience. After all, social media seems to explode before Christmas as we can’t help but express excitement, so this is likely to be the ideal time to gain as much traffic and engagement as possible.

 

Make it Pechristmas giftsrsonal

Known as the time of the year for love to be shared, join in by showcasing your brand’s sentimental side. If you’re e-commerce, there is a perfect opportunity to re-vamp your products through personalising items. Bespoke, personalised gifts that make sentimental presents for loved ones are proving an evergreen staple for many people’s Christmas list. On the more charitable side of things, collaborating with a cause your brand truly cares about and showcasing the work you’re doing with them, will show your audience there are people and minds behind the brand! Sending out gifts and Christmas cards to clients that have shown you support, will also always be a popular and worthwhile gesture.

Be A Resource, Not Just a Shoprecourse

People get tired very quickly of the showcasing of adverts and products they get bombarded with during the run-up to Christmas. It can quickly start to become an annoyance. Rather than directly promoting products, why not aim to be a resource to your audience? Be their local gift guide, gift hunting adviser and recipe giver. Nobody likes cold, promotional content especially around Christmas when they are getting this sort of marketing constantly from a huge range of companies. Being creative and treating your audience like a friend is likely to gain a lot more trust and interest than a stereotypical festive promotion.

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