Why Your Business Needs to be on Pinterest

Your business is already on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, so why do you need to be on Pinterest, too? Isn’t it just a place for people to “pin” things they like or want to make, or how they want to plan their wedding? Well, the answer is partially yes, but it can actually help bring success to your business as well.

A great blog on Entrepreneur.com (see the full post here) states that “43 percent of Pinterest users interact with retailers or brands they like on the site, compared with 24 percent of Facebook users” and that “research from consumer electronics giant Sony shows that an embedded “Pin-It” button gets 10-times more clicks than Twitter’s “Tweet This” button”. So while Pinterest users are pinning those types of things, they are also finding things they want to buy. When these products and/or services show up on your own company’s Pinterest account, the users pinning them are that much more likely to come to you for them.

The infographic in the blog post is great, too:
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Some of the most important points to take away from the infographic are:
1. Historically, Pinterest has better retention and engagement rates than Twitter.
2. People search Pinterest for things to buy.
3. Pinterest brings more traffic to websites than Facebook.
4. People use Pinterest to “associate with retailers or brands with which I identify”.
5. Pinterest is the third most popular social media network in the U.S.

If this is not enough to convince you that your business would benefit greatly from Pinterest, maybe you could use some tips on how to make Pinterest work for your company? (source) For example:
1. Follow other businesses
2. Stay informed of Pinterest’s business updates
3. Title boards with keywords
4. Write a good business description
5. Zero-in on your Pinterest followers

The point of this blog: Pinterest is fun and easy and you probably already have a personal account, so if your business doesn’t already have one, too, it needs one! I think you would be very surprised to see just how beneficial it is for your business to be on Pinterest.

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Product Placement in TV Shows

Have you ever noticed that a lot of TV shows will cover up the brand names on things or turn them around in a shot so those names aren’t visible? Or just use things that are very obviously just props in place of those brand name products? On the other hand, a lot of shows will keep those brands in their episodes: product placement. Product placement is supposed to put those brands in the scene in a subtle way, that isn’t so in-your-face as traditional ads. But how often do you notice them? Which ones have you actually found subtle, and which are shamelessly placed with no attempt at any sense of
subtlety?

Here are some of the most well-known cases of product placement in television (just to name a few!):

The Big Bang Theory uses a lot of product placement, for example:

Nielsen named this as one of the top ten most memorable product placements of 2011!

While this one makes fun of the Apple Geniuses, it’s pretty funny!

Modern Family has also been known to integrate big names into the show, like when Phil expresses his love for his iPad:

Or when Claire and Haley go to Target:

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This one from Burn Notice just screams Hyundai commercial:

Finally, we had those famous Coca-Cola cups on American Idol:

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Obviously some of these are much more forced than other examples of product placement, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide which you found subtle and which you found to be way too obvious!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

 

 

One day at a time.

I have been really trying to “find” myself lately… I have recently turned twenty- one years old, moved back home, and started an internship for a job I see myself doing in the future after graduation.
( Michigan Creative )

Who is to say what is the “right” thing to do at a certain age? I keep finding myself thinking in my head “who do I want to be?” “what do I want to do with my life?” I am trying too hard. I look on my Instagram and see all these people doing things and spend hours on Pinterest just searching… I need to just accept what I like and what I don’t like. I need to accept my style, in designing and just in general. I need to accept that friends aren’t going to stick around if they don’t share the same interests as you do. I am trying to figure out what kind of designer I want to be, what kind of friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, aunt. But, when really I don’t need to sit there and think about those things…

Recently someone told me “YOU can only control what YOU want in your life” no one else. I choose to not be negative, sad, lonely, shy, timid.

I am going into a field of work where I need to be social, happy, outgoing, healthy, wise, creative, confident.

Growing up I never thought I would have this outlook on life I thought being all emotional and sappy is dumb and “whatever”… this summer has really shown me that everything will happen for a reason and having this internship and growing up and being independent has made me see what kind of person I want to be in life and what I want to achieve.

Social media has had a huge impact on my life …  like everyone else’s too.   My dad always asking me “can you turn off your phone for 20 minutes??” I don’t just sit on my Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and look at everyone else life and what they’re doing (sometimes). It is more than that, and I look for ways to better myself and my designing and my knowledge. I am always looking at or reading things to learn. I notice things like the typography, placement of things, logos, videos, advertising.  I want to be able to use social media to help others and make them feel the happiness they should feel on a daily basis. It seems silly to even talk about happiness but it really is deep down the core of you and your success in life.

Well to sum up what I have been going on and on about…

I really have noticed my eyes opening up to the creative world and enjoying everything for what it is. Telling myself to stay calm and know that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Go along with the journey life has for me and take it one day at a time.

Drink water. Breathe. Surround myself with good people. Eat delicious healthy foods. Be C r e a t i v e. & always be grateful.

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~Taylor

 

Michigan Creative Marketing

Why Responsive Websites are so Important

“We could have just built a smart phone version, but that wouldn’t have helped us with the rise of tablets. There are so many different screen sizes proliferating now that we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss out on future opportunities.”
~Jeff Moriarty, VP of Digital Products at the Boston Globe

Responsive web design is here and it’s here to stay.

What is it? Responsive web design is a web design approach that is aims to create sites that provide an optimal viewing experience and easy reading and navigation, by minimizing resizing, panning, and scrolling across a variety of devices.

Basically, responsive design makes your site viewable on any device, no matter how large or small. It increases usability, functionality, and improves overall customer satisfaction.

Here at Michigan Creative, we now build all of our websites on responsive themes. Check out Vision Tire‘s design below:

Michigan Creative Marketing

This may lead some of you to ask why. Why go through the effort of finding themes that are responsive? What difference does it make?

I promise it’s worth it and will actually make you money in the long run! Here are my top 5 reasons why you should have a responsive website:

1. Customers use a variety of devices to reach a variety of goals.

* 81% browse the internet using their devices
*75% shop using their devices
*46% manage their finances using their devices
*43% plan trips with their devices

People these days seem to use their phones for every thing! Don’t leave your customers out just because you don’t think they would use your site on mobile. Odds are that they probably are accessing your site on a phone or tablet at some point in time.

2. Don’t be a statistic built on slow load times!

Over 46% of mobile users report having difficulty with webpages and 44% complain navigation is sometimes difficult. By implementing a responsive web design for your webpage, this will significantly reduce the load time of your webpage on any device. A quick load time keeps customers interested and makes it easier for them to take action.

3. Every time a new device comes out, you won’t have to create a new website. 

New tablets and smartphones come out every single day it seems. If you build a mobile specific site for each phone and tablet’s dimensions, you will spend lots of time and money trying to keep up with all of the devices out there! Keep it simple and have a site that adjusts to any size screen so you’ll never leave a customer without access to your website.

4. It’ll make it easy for users to navigate.

This seems like kind of a no-brainer, but having a mobile optimized site means no excessive scrolling, pinching, stretching, zooming, ect. Responsive web designs also make it easy for customers to click and call simply by touching your phone number while viewing the site on their phone.

5. Your entire site is able to be viewed on any platform.

Certain elements in websites without responsive designs are not viewable on mobile devices. For instance, did you know that you cannot view any part of a site built in Adobe Flash on an iPhone? Sometimes elements of sites will overlap, crowd the screen, or simply not show up on a mobile platform. When using a responsive design you never have to worry about this happening as it auto adjusts each and every time.

I was able to find a recent success story to put all of this data to work! The United Way Bay Area (UWBA) had built their website in 2008 and hadn’t updated it very much. When they started talking about a new site, they wanted to keep their costs low, increase online donations, encourage individual contribution, and work on year-long contributions instead of seasonal contributions. A responsive design was a large part of this conversation as well. After analyzing the sates from the site soon after launch, they found an increase of mobile sessions by 34%, an increase of tablet sessions by 21.5%, and they were able to generate a 28% growth in year-over-year online donations! To see the whole case study click here.

I hope this helps clarify why it is so important for businesses today to have a responsive website.

Until next time!
~Melissa

Why Video and Social Media Go Hand in Hand

social-media-and-video2We all know that social media is a key component to the success of any business, driving increased traffic to your website, generating leads, improving your search ranking, and much more. We have also seen, especially recently, that video is another key factor in this area. Videos engage potential clients, more so than text alone, because they are (or at least should be) much more entertaining. Video also helps keep people on your website longer and increases the likelihood that they will buy your product, request your services, etc.

Now the question is: How do social media and video go together, and why is it important to use them both?
The answer: They both present great opportunities for success, but in order to take full advantage of these opportunities you need to play the strengths of both to the other.

Think about it, how are potential clients going to see your videos if you don’t advertise them? You have a ton of followers on Twitter and LinkedIn, likes on Facebook, subscribers on YouTube – take advantage of this! These groups of people are more than likely going to lose interest in you if you are not posting on your social media outlets, but if you are posting good, engaging content (like videos!) frequently, you can expect to see more traffic on your website. Using a video to grab their interest in the (approximately) 10 seconds you have to do so can increase their interest in your brand, causing them to not only spend more time looking at your other posts but also remember your product or service.

Facebook is taking steps to provide data to marketers about “how their content is performing”, because they “understand the value that video can have for a brand”. This blog from ReelSEO states that there are now “twice as many users now watch videos on Facebook compared to just six months ago”, a statistic that should be enough in itself to show you why you should be posting video on your social media!

This blog post from SocialMediaToday is also a very good source for “Why Posting Videos on Social Media is Such a Great Business Strategy” (great title, huh?!). For example, “today’s social media users are more “visual”-minded than ever” and “videos are just another means of “word of mouth” advertising”.

If you’re already getting the most out of your social media, take it to the next level by adding video! Or if you are already producing great video content, put it out there with social media! If you’re already doing both of these things then, well, you’re on the road to success!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

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Why Buying Facebook Likes is a Bad Idea

But it’s the ultimate ‘get popular fast scheme’, right? Wrong. Buying likes for your business’s Facebook page actually does more harm than good to your Facebook page.

It seems like the perfect plan; just spend a couple hundred bucks and you can add hundreds or even thousands of likes for your Facebook page. It’ll make you look more popular, raise engagement, and increase sales!

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

When you buy Facebook likes, you are mostly likely purchasing likes from all the wrong people. Most of the likes you will receive in schemes like this are from ‘click farm’ fake accounts. According to USA Today, Facebook’s January quarterly report estimated 14.1 million of their 1.18 billion active user accounts are fraudulent. Facebook actively seeks out these fake users and shuts them down. So not only are you not buying ‘real’ likes, but as fake accounts are shut down, you will see your like number keep dropping instead of increasing.

This is just one of the main problems with buying likes. The other comes in the engagement itself. Social Media Today did some math:

Purchasing Facebook LikesSo, unlike popular understanding, purchasing likes will not increase your engagement. Purchasing likes actually makes your page look like it has worse engagement than you did before! Fake accounts will not interact with your posts because, well, they are not real people and have no real interest in your business.

So what can you do to increase your likes? Facebook makes it easy to increase your like number with several pretty inexpensive options. You can run like campaigns, boost posts, and advertise your page. Each of these are much more likely to increase engagement with your posts and to gain you real fans and potential customers.

Do you know anyone that has purchased likes? How did it effect their reach and engagement?

Until next time!
~Melissa

Facebook likes

Where is Technology Heading?

We all know that technology has come a long way since our grandparents were our age, since our parents were our age, or even when we were younger ourselves. I know I can remember things like, “Get off the computer, I need to use the phone!”, using *69 to call back a number to see who it was, listening to the Backstreet Boys on my HitClips and storing my school projects on floppy discs.

Now, if you ask a little kid about any of these things, you can usually expect an answer along the lines of, “Is that on my iPad?” This video shows how far technology has come, just based on the reactions of these kids to “old” technology that their dad shows them!

Some people say it makes them feel old when their kids have no idea what these technological gadgets are, but I think it just shows how far we’ve come and that we have the potential to continue to take technology even further!

I saw a cool article the other day that showed a whole bunch of different gadgets you used to be able buy, like video cameras, calculators and answering machines, all of which you can now do on your smartphone! It’s really cool to think about how advanced these things were then, how advanced smartphones are that now include all of those things and what kinds of potential gadgets the future hold that can do even more than a smartphone (hard to imagine, right?!). This video from CNN is really interesting, showing how Barcelona is embracing “the internet of everything”.

Technology is an amazing thing and it will continue to change and improve as long as people are working towards that goal. As Wim said in the video, “only 1% of what can be connected, is connected today”. Think about it… How much can your smartphone do? Your tablet? Your laptop? What more could you possibly imagine that it could do, that it doesn’t already?

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

 

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Lansing marketing, Lansing video, Michigan Creative, video production, marketing, web, print, design

Don’t Lose Your Creativity!

Just as BuzzFeedYellow‘s video states, “staying creative can be hard”.

I’m sure you’ve all had that frustrating moment during a project when you just can’t seem to think of what to do next (I know I have!), but it’s important to keep your creative juices flowing, even when you’re frustrated! Sometimes it’s best to just walk away from the project for a bit, and think about other things, and something will come to you.

This video, “How To Boost Your Creativity” from BuzzFeedYellow, has some great tips and tricks on how to stay creative. For example, carrying a journal may seem like it would get annoying, writing down every little thing you see throughout the day but, if you think about it, how many times have you been in a meeting at work, out to eat with friends, or just walking around town when you saw something that inspired you, or thought of a great idea that you couldn’t remember later that day for the life of you? Keeping a journal for these small things throughout the day could be your key to creativity later on when you sit down to work on something and find yourself needing a little help.

Another thing to remember is that, eventually, you’ll probably go through a phase of your work where you know what you want to create, but can’t quite get there, and that’s okay. The important thing is that you know you have the ability to be creative, and the potential to create something great, you just have to work to improve your skills even more in order to get your work to where you want it to be. Samuel Cernuto makes some great points on this in this video, “On Being Creative”:

Being creative is fun, inspiring and rewarding, but it can also be pretty frustrating at times. But if you think about it, being frustrated with your work at times can actually be beneficial to you because it can be that little push you need to learn more, improve your skills and come up with your next great idea.

Stay creative!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Does Supporting a Cause Hurt Your Business?

Today I came across an awesome viral ad for Burger King. In San Francisco for Pride Week, Burger King added a new burger to their menu, the Proud Whopper. Every customer, of every orientation, looked so baffled by the new addition and would repeatedly ask, “What’s different about it?” Eventually when unwrapping their burger and tasting it, they come across a note that says, “We Are All The Same On The Inside.” It is such a powerful and true message and in a place like San Francisco, during Pride Week none-the-less, you’d expect to see very little negative backlash.

whopper

As much as I agree with where Burger King, and other companies who have shown amazing support to the LGBT community stand on this issue, it reminded me of something I was told when I was working in the service industry. The first thing I was taught was to never discuss religion or politics with customers, as they are such hot button issues, that can easily turn business away. I began to wonder exactly how dipping into social issues would affect revenue, and until Burger King does some adequate post-testing on this campaign, many of my questions will remain unanswered.  I would love to know what you guys think:

Does taking political sides have a positive effect that outweighs the business it turns away?

As a business, would it be smarter to not voice your opinion on such issues?

With a “successful business,” such as Burger King, should you not worry about how one campaign affects revenue and just stand up for what you believe is right and try to initiate change?

I feel like in the long run, it comes down to what your business is and who your target market is, when trying to come to a conclusion on any of the questions posed above. But, as somebody who is fascinated with advertising research and strategy, I couldn’t help but mention it!

Josh