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Everyone Can See Your Facebook Advertising (Because of Russian Spies)

The Facebook advertising your company creates will be viewable by anybody who cares enough to look thanks to new changes to the social media giant’s platform made to help secure Canadian democracy from ‘fake news’.

However you feel about the political events of the last few years, most people will agree that one of the most troubling aspects has been the outpouring of ‘fake news’. Everyone will have seen it in their feed by now: links to news articles that look like the real thing but will be on ‘CMM.co.au’, pushing dubious and highly polarised narratives. Perhaps they’re the work of elite Russian government hackers, perhaps they’re made by Macedonia teenagers who want to buy BMWs, but they’re bad news for countries that rely on informed electorates to make decisions.

Election integrity in Canada has become a major issue after the US, UK, Germany, Austria and others were all inundated with fake news during elections. Even though geopolitics and spy-vs-spy stuff might be a million miles from your business, the changes made by the Canadian Election Integrity Initiative and Facebook affect anyone who advertises on Facebook. The site’s users will now be able to see all of the adverts your company has ever made. Apparently, your racist uncle is going to make sure that the post he shared about Trump’s 400-point IQ was well-sourced.

Political adverts will be under particular scrutiny. Each one will be accompanied by detailed information on how much was spent to promote them, the number of impressions and the demographics of who the ad reached. If you want to create political ads you’ll need to provide detailed documentation to verify your identity.

Some companies won’t be affected by this change at all, and many Facebook advertising users won’t even know it’s there or won’t be inclined to use it. Realistically, how will it affect you? Everyone’s advertising being out there 24/7 means you’ll have to be more careful about your ads: a tasteless advertisement could come back to haunt you. Although most users will ignore the ads, they’ll always be there to trip you up if you don’t get them right the first time.

Looking to start Facebook advertising and want to get it right the first time? Give us a call.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday: Tips for Retail’s Biggest Week

So you’re looking for a Black Friday Idea…

People climbing over each other for a juicer, old ladies pushing children to the floor to get at a Swiffer mop, at least one fatality, and at the centre of it, all consumer goods priced low, low, low!  Black Friday is here again folks!

The biggest retail day of the year started as a distinctly US phenomenon but has now spread to the whole English-speaking world. Just like Christmas, it keeps getting earlier each year, with weeks of deals and flash-sales leading up to the big day itself, which has been joined by the eCommerce-centric Cyber Monday and self-explanatory Small Business Saturday.

So how do you come up with a Black Friday Idea that can benefit your retail business, hopefully to the point that people are camping outside your doors at5 am?

Realize That People Kind of Don’t Like Black Friday

Everybody complains about Christmas getting earlier every year… then put their lights on in mid-August anyway. Because of the riots and tramplings, Black Friday has not gotten a great reputation- but those deals though. You can connect with your customers by giving them a little wink via social media or in-store signage that says ‘hey, we know that this is crazy, we get it, but did you see this stand mixer?’ One company even completely boycotted Black Friday but paid their employees all the same.


Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Start Early

Send emails and social posts out several weeks before the big day, even if you don’t know exactly what your plans are, then ratchet up from there as your plans become more concrete. You’ll be competing for a lot of attention on Black Friday itself, so make sure that you have a plan to grab as much attention as you can.

Be Funny

Sex is supposed to sell, but more often than not it makes people feel gross. Shock is supposed to wake people from their complacency, but really it makes 90% of people turn off. Sentiment should speak to universal human truths, but mostly it just sounds schmaltzy. That leaves humour: provided that you’re not punching down, being vulgar or just plain weird then humour is the best way to reach audiences on a gut level. Using consumer’s own uneasy relationship with Black Friday, a deep knowledge of your audience and whatever inspiration you can find you can craft something that people are going to remember.

Pay For It

If you’re already making deep cuts into your profit margins by offering staggering deals then paying more for advertising might have your accountant breaking out in a cold sweat, but in today’s competitive attention economy it might be the only way to get in front of enough eyeballs to get that coveted line-out-of-the-door. Facebook advertising allows you to create highly-targeted multimedia ads, and many other platforms offer similar functionality (although Facebook remains the largest.) Don’t discount traditional media either: plenty of people will still respond to a well-made newspaper insert.

How should you set up a great social media campaign for Black Friday? Here’s a sample idea:

  • Post a great video to your company’s Facebook page.
  • Pay to promote that video to your followers (no more than $100 of spend should be necessary here depending on the size of your market.)
  • Build a retargeting ad campaign- a type of Facebook ad campaign that shows ads to people who have already done something on your page or website. Here, you should create a campaign that targets anyone who watched more than half of your video.
  • Go hard and spend big to target those people with ads about your Black Friday deals- they’ve shown that they are engaged.

Tighten Up Your eCommerce

Cyber Monday is a huge day for eCommerce, and it’s not just the big players (or, rather, player- Amazon). Any company that sells online can jump on the bandwagon, but to do so you’ll need a rock-solid eCommerce solution. You may be able to attract more people, but the same rules still apply: make sure that there are no errors, make sure that it’s easy to add items and pay for your order, make sure that the shipping options are transparent- free shipping is a major incentive at any time of year. It’s probably the wrong time to switch from Shopify to Magento or vice-versa, but might be the right time to add some plug-ins that tighten up the checkout process- provided that you’ve got plenty of time to test it and work out any bugs.

Also, because you’ll have an influx of new customers, it’s important to convert them into fans instead of just taking their money once a year and hoping they come back the next. Follow-up emails, incentives to sign up for social media and add-ins for the packages that build goodwill- all of this will convert a few Black Friday bargain-hunters into regular customers.

6) Go Mobile

A large portion of shoppers will be browsing on their mobiles instead of a desktop, which offers a host of opportunities- and problems. Obviously, on a seven-inch screen, you’re not going to be able to show as much or incorporate the same level of text description- a couple of sentences should be sufficient. Mobile also allows you to employ push notifications: it may seem a little intrusive, but eCommerce vendors have found that a pop-up message about an abandoned shopping cart or a notification of a flash sale is a valuable addition to your company’s eCommerce operations.

Stay Small

On Black Friday you’ll be up against big box stores that can afford deep, deep discounts and pyramids of HD TVs; on Cyber Monday you’ll be up against Amazon, who has been taking on the high street and winning for the past twenty years. To level the playing field, consider skipping Black Friday/Cyber Monday altogether and going straight to Small Business Saturday. It might not have the small multi-billion dollar clout as its cousins earlier in the week, but it does allow you to leverage the goodwill people have towards small businesses and their antipathy towards the big retailers.

With a little imagination and the willingness to go the extra mile to provide compelling discounts for your customers, the Black Friday – Cyber Monday shopping period can be the most lucrative shopping period of the entire year. On or offline, you’ll be up against the big boys in retail, from Best Buy to Amazon, so come up with a great Black Friday idea and use what makes you special- you’re small, you’re local and you can build a following by going directly to your customers.

 

If you’re ever looking for marketing strategy advice, be sure to come by and visit our crew here at Octopus Creative!

How To Pick The Right Marketing Agency In Alberta For Your Business

Marketing agencies aren’t a one size fits all type of business. Each company has a unique philosophy, approach, and style. The key to a successful partnership with a marketing agency in Alberta is to find the one whose values align with yours. You want to feel comfortable, and you want to trust the marketing team that you choose. Remember, you’re selecting an entire team, not just an individual! You will have a whole crew of people that will be helping you sail your ship towards reaching your business goals.

What Do You Need?

The first step you should take before you even begin to look into hiring a marketing agency is to determine what your goals are. Do you want a new website? What functionalities does that website require? Being able to run an online store has an entirely separate set of needs compared to a lead generation website. Are you considering email marketing? What about branding? If you’re in need of a new logo, you know that the marketing agency you choose will require a graphic designer on staff to meet your requirements.

Explore The Ocean

Explore and research the agencies that you are considering. Who have they worked with in the past? Take a peek at their portfolio. Does their style of work align with your wants and needs? Another excellent way to gain a better understanding of how each marketing agency works is to watch their corporate blog, website, and social media presence. If you’re feeling inquisitive, look up their staff on social media too! LinkedIn will give you information on each individual’s qualifications, which can be beneficial. Perhaps you will find commonalities to help you connect on a personal level – which in turn, will help you achieve your goals!

Remove Your Eyepatch

It’s always best to have a specific project in mind but remain open to new ideas. Remove that eyepatch! Communicating with your chosen agency is key – and that communication has to go both ways. Our job as a marketing agency in Alberta is to ensure that you reach your marketing and business goals, and sometimes that requires thinking outside of the box and going a different direction than you had initially planned.

Find The Starfish in a Sea Full of Barnacles

Check references. Speak with the agencies that you’re considering, and ask to email or speak with previous and current clients. When conducting these pseudo-interviews, ensure to ask the right questions. Dive in and discover the quality of communication, the challenges, and how the company handled all situations. Are they quick to respond to emails and phone calls or does it take a few days to get a response? How do they handle difficult situations?

Marketing Solutions That Stick!

When hiring a marketing agency, think of it as though you’re hiring a new employee. You want to ensure that your personalities mesh well and you can work well together. You’re creating a partnership, and the only way a partnership can succeed is to keep the lines of communication open. Ensure that you’re direct in your needs, at the same time, understanding their scope of expertise. You want marketing solutions that stick!