Newest in New: What’s Next For Social Media?

As an advertising agency specializing in creating relationships and successful advertising through social media, we are often asked, “What’s next?” Well, in social media – sometimes it’s hard to tell. To find out, you must be truly tuned in, always searching for the newest tips and tricks.

Here are some of the newest in new to help fulfill your ever-growing social media addiction:

You Can Now Tag Fan Pages in Facebook Photos!
Throughout the years, it’s become common practice to tag people in pictures you upload to Facebook, but now Facebook gives you the ability to tag Fan Pages in photos as well. So, next time your company sponsors that local 5k, feel free to tag your Fan Page, not just your employees. It works the same way as when you tag people, meaning that once your Fan Page is tagged, the photo will appear on their Wall and in the Photos sections.

You Can Now Promote Products Without Even Realizing it!
Facebook has recently started a new form of advertising called Sponsored Stories that uses the power of influence to promote businesses. Whenever you actively engage on Facebook, by checking-in to a place, liking a page, posting on a page, sharing apps, using apps or playing games, Facebook could use this information to promote the product, person or service you are referring to. These stories are eligible to appear in your friends’ News Feed and now show up on the right hand column of your Home Page. When it comes to privacy, Facebook is all clear though, because only people who are eligible to see your News Feed story are eligible to see it as a Sponsored Story. So next time you say, “Gosh, that food was DELICIOUS at $%(*$#^” remember that you could be speaking to masses on behalf of that restaurant.
You Can Now Explore New Places Through Foursquare!
Foursquare has just released version 3.0 for Android and the iPhone. The new version of the popular check-in app offers some significant changes, most notably – the Explore menu. Once you open Foursquare on a mobile device, you will be given the option to “Explore.” Through this section of the application, Foursquare gives you intuitive recommendations on places you would like based on your friend’s check-ins and your own. For specific recommendations, you can choose from a variety of categories, sorted by Food, Coffee, Nightlife, Shops and A&E.

You Can Now Share Links Via Friends on Facebook!
Facebook has recently introduced the new “Share” button. When you see a friend with a cool link posted on their Wall, you will see the options to Like, Comment or Share. Clicking “Share” will post the link on your wall and give your friend credit – your post will say something like, “Jennifer Johnstone shared this link via Linda Embrey”. This feature is somewhat reminiscent of a re-tweet on Twitter.

You Can Now Explore Inventory Through Google Places:
There is a new Google Places update only available in the US that allows users to search the inventory of a specific place. Paul Lee, senior product manager at Google, explained this update as “a new feature that automatically brings your offline catalog to the web, letting customers view your products and search your local inventory on your Place Page before visiting your store.”  The feature will display five of your most popular products with their prices so that potential customers can browse for what they’re looking for online before coming to buy it from your offline store. Potential consumers can also search your stock if they’re looking for a specific item not listed in your five items.
Unfortunately, by the time you get around to reading this post, or even me finished writing it, it may be outdated. To stay abreast of the newest in new for social media, continue to research on a daily basis…or you could just call evok at 407.302.4416 or follow us on Twitter – @evoklarry.

How Has Technology Affected Communication?

Laptops, iPads, cell phones, the Internet, Google, Twitter, wifi…how has technology affected people’s ability to communicate?

Communication using technology, referred to as mediated technology is used more for business communication than any other kind, even more than the outdated form of communication called…”talking.”

At the time of this being published, 60% of the world’s population own a mobile phone and over 449 million of those are “smart” phones.

Sure, all the technological advances have many advantages. For those of you old enough to remember, there was a time when you sent ads to a “film house” to be produced or scanned and actually had to send them to the publication via snail mail or Fed-Ex. We used to have to factor in the time that it would take to rip the film and send to the pubs to meet our deadlines. Now, ads due today – no problem we will have it uploaded to the FTP in a jiffy.

Mediated technology has definitely made business communication faster and cheaper, but has it also diminished the ability to establish relationships? How many times have you read an email and misunderstood the tonality? Or how many times have e-mails crossed in cyber space? What about the dreaded “Reply All” mishaps that everyone has heard about when you intended to only reply to sender?

I remember a time when my phone (land line that is!) rang off the hook and I had conversations with clients all day long. Not so much anymore – now it is all via e-mail and texting. And when I do have a conversation with a client, 9 times out of 10 it is on my iPhone.

There was also a time when it was considered rude to bring a cell phone or computer to a meeting and now it is expected. How many of us have sat in a meeting and texted someone who is in the same meeting? Home phones…have one, can’t tell you why, what the number is, or the last time it rang.

I joke with the 20-somethings in the office that they sit at home on the couch next to their husbands/boyfriends/friends and text instead of having a conversation. One of my colleagues told me that she and her husband were sitting in their family room together the other day playing Words with Friends on their iPhones – poor Scrabble.

So, do you think mediated technology has “dumbed” us down? Shortcuts for words on Twitter such as UR, GR8, etc are the norm so tweets don’t exceed 140 characters. Messages sent from mobile phones often have typos – and strange wording thanks to auto-fill and predictive text. It’s “for,” not “fir!”

Of course there was a time when the calculator first appeared on the scene and people were concerned that it would diminish the ability to do math in ones head. With the exception of my boss, when was the last time any of you did math in your head?

It has also been said that Socrates feared the impact writing would have on people’s ability to think. However, Einstein didn’t commit anything to memory and chose instead to write everything down.

I can’t think of a way to end this and I need to get back to work, so I think I will just Google another phase for “In Conclusion.” How about “The end”?

Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing, also known as e-blasts and e-newsletters, is one of the least expensive ways to get your message out and can catapult your sales to a new level. Use email marketing to help build your relationship with your customer. The first step to email marketing is selecting a software program. There are several to choose from but two of our favorites are Constant Contact and Mail Chimp.

Constant Contact offers over 400 email templates and a tracking and reporting feature that allows you to see what percentage of your audience opened your email and which link generated the most click through rates. They have excellent customer support and offer a free 60-day trial for up to 100 contacts. After 60 days you will pay a monthly fee that starts at $15 and increases incrementally depending on the number of email addresses you send to.

MailChimp does not offer as many templates to choose from, but they offer free emails for lists with 2,000 names or less. They also have an easy to use system for adding and managing contacts and have a strong reporting feature. MailChimp offers point-and-click WYSIWYG editing. A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor enables you to easily edit your email campaign while seeing what it will look like to your readers.

Once you have done your research and picked out your email marketing partner, set goals on what you want to achieve and track them. Below are some general tips to consider:

1. Pick or design a template that complements your brand and your website.

2. Determine what you want to include in your weekly, monthly or quarterly email marketing. Do you have a featured spotlight, a product or safety tip? Interview an employee or an expert. Tell readers something they don’t already know and sprinkle in some fun or a quote. Treat the readers like they are a part of your group to help build brand affinity.

3. Ask your customers what their email reading habits are. Do they prefer to open emails on their computer, receive a text or open them on a mobile device or smartphone?

4. So that your email can be viewed on a smartphone or computer, remember that a practical, clean design is best. Always set the alignment to the left – this ensures that the copy doesn’t get pushed to the center or right if someone is reviewing the email newsletter on a smartphone. A good design includes whitespace, short paragraphs, few pictures and clearly labeled sections.

5. A/B test your emails so you can determine what days of the week and times have a higher open rate for your business.

6. When programming the content, include a teaser paragraph with a link to your website so your readers have to click on the link to get the full story. This helps drive traffic to your website and with rankings.

7. Incorporate Google Analytics so you can view statistics on visits, conversions and sales. Combine email and social marketing by sharing your campaign with Facebook, Digg or Twitter.

8. Always test your email campaign before it is sent to the masses. Test it internally, externally and for viewing it in different browsers and on smartphones.

9. After you launch your email, pay attention to what topics have higher click through rates for future campaigns. Remember to measure your success and compare results from email campaigns. Use your reports
to learn about your reader’s interests and sign up for your competitor’s e-newsletters to see what they are doing. Make sure you are building and regularly updating your email list and database.

10. If you are having trouble coming up with rich content, consider reducing the length and frequency of your email newsletters. People typically value the space in their inbox so make sure you are providing relevant and engaging information.

Still need help on getting started or improving your email marketing? Contact evok advertising at 407-302-4416.

Folder and File Naming Conventions – A Traffic Manager’s Dream

Working at an ad agency, we all have our hopes and dreams. Some may want to ride jet skis off the coast of Panama, win the World Series of Poker, maybe even backpack through Bali. And while spontaneous ventures are normal for those living the agency life, it’s also true that their work needs to have some structure, because it is the structure within your work endeavors that allows you the ability to break free on your down time.

So here at evok, as much as we play hard, we also work hard and one of the key elements of our workflow process is having sound file naming conventions. It may seem easy enough, but file name conventions can actually be tricky. If you don’t have a good file naming system, your files may be lost to you and your team, which will make things challenging on days when rush projects are piling up and your account service team is working hard to keep promises to their clients.

There isn’t one right way to name files. The best way will depend on the user’s or the company’s workflow structure. A good practice is to develop a company- wide naming system so that everyone is on the same page. The naming convention can be derived from a client name, job number or abbreviation of the job’s detail. In time, you’ll find that endless file searches and wasted time will be a thing of the past!

Some operating systems have rules or limitations on file naming which will only allow you to include a certain number of characters or select symbols within your file name. Also, many will only accept certain file extensions, so you must be familiar with your operating system and servers before deciding on a file naming convention.

When creating certain documents or creative materials, there may also be different versions of the same file that should be saved additionally and not written over. This is a good practice if you have enough storage space depending on your file size. A folder that contains copy, for example, may contain a naming convention such as V2, V3 and so on.

Every new project has a project number assigned to it before anyone can
begin working on it. Account Executives may have meeting notes kept within a common area for themselves, but when an estimate is approved and the project is ready to go into production (copy, creative, layout, photography etc…) it is a good practice to keep ALL assets for the project in one place, it’s Project Folder.

To help get you started, here’s a look into evok’s file naming conventions:

FOLDER NAMING: All of our work is saved under a project folder with the appropriate project number on it. Our project numbers are created using the current year, client abbreviation and a job number that is generated by our workflow management system. For example, when a new project is opened
for evok in the year 2011, a folder named 11_EVOK_0100 may be populated.
In February, we might see a folder labeled 11_EVOK_0150. This would be the 150th project created for evok. This naming convention is also very helpful when archiving or referring to existing or previous project alike.

SUB FOLDERS: Within each project folder, we also like to create additional folders. For example, if 11_EVOK_0155 is a new project, you may see:

COPY includes word docs of copy decks with version suffix. ex. 11_EVOK_5555_v2.doc
COMPS also contains a STOCK photo folder for spec stock. Numerous folders with rounds of revisions may be found here as well.
IMAGES any additional image which is not part of an image library and is usually specific to that project. This can include photoshop and illustrator files.
STOCK for purchased stock photography, and only if it pertains to this one-time usage.
SUPPLIED can be any files that have been supplied FROM the client that effect the project BUT not native to it. Ex. Previous brochure that we are modifying but NOT their logo.
PROOF contains low-res proofs. If proofs are archived, then naming scheme should be file name followed by underscore and version number.
PDF contains Hi-res.. ex. 11_EVOK_5555_HR.pdf.
OTS or COLLECT depends on client and final production.

CATEGORIZED BY MONTH: Let’s say this PR campaign lasted for 3 months – March, April and May and we wrote a different press release each month, but wanted to keep it in one project for the quarter. Within a Press Release folder we would create additional folders categorized by month. Instead of creating folders named March, April and May, we would want to create folders name 03 – March, 04 – April and 05 – May. You might notice that the 03 comes before March because March is the 3rd month of the year. This way, when you are scrolling through your files, you are looking at your months chronologically rather than alphabetically which is a great folder naming convention.

KEEP YOUR VERSIONS STRAIGHT!: Many of the creatives in our agency have had the pleasure of presenting work to clients. Sometimes a client, even if they love the idea, may want to see another concept with some revisions. Once you go into the file and change the ad, it’s important that you save it as a separate version. If the original layout version was called Bartender.indd, the new version should be called Bartender_v2.indd. The purpose is this – you ask? What if upon making the suggested change, they want to revert to the original layout. In this case you still have it and it is not written over. There are also plug-ins that may be used in your application programs that save these “layers” as such.

FINAL FILE NAMING: This really does depend on the final outcome of you project. It may be an ad that a publication is requesting and a certain file naming convention is required. It may have a HR.pdf naming convention signifying a High Resolution file. It may have the word FINAL in the name. It really depends on how you structure your system and consistent you are with it.

I could continue to ramble and give you example after example, but I hope you get the basic concept. It’s not a good idea to name your file NEW BROCHURE. indd or INTRO COPY.doc. You’ll get confused, waste time, and look foolish to a client when you give them the wrong proof. You can be as creative or as basic with your naming conventions as you wish, as long as everyone on your team is working the same way. Using a similar system above will serve to create a better working environment and a better workflow process.

Marketing Coordinator Position Available (New Business Development)

It is the job of the marketing coordinator to assist with the generation of an established benchmark of new business leads and prospects for the agency according to a pre-defined set of client criteria.  The marketing coordinator generates research on prospects and assembles reports to use in attracting and inciting prospects’ interest in the agency.  Also, the marketing coordinator maintains the prospect database, makes and keeps appointments, leads and prospects, maintains and follows up on regular new business developer mailings to prospects, looks for new leads, creates prospect profiles, and stays up to date on correspondence relating to all prospect contacts.

Reports to the agency ceo who manages agency new business development.

Responsibilities:

  • Practices effective sales efforts resulting in a steady increase of new business.
  • Wins profitable new accounts that are professional, courteous and long-term.
  • Coordinates projects/jobs for smooth, efficient operation of new business effort.
  • Communicates effectively between the agency and prospective clients.
  • Actively listens and seeks to understand clients’ needs and then convinces them the agency can meet those needs.
  • Uses client contact software to maintain detailed digital files documenting all contacts with each prospect including mailings, calls, appointments, and correspondence; records all research, reports, sales information or other materials used or created for use in selling the agency to each prospect.
  • Keeps timely contact with prospects through regular emails, mailings, phone calls, and appointments.
  • Coordinates with the agency ceo to schedule prospecting emails/newsletters, search marketing ads and other online tactics.
  • Keeps thorough records on all prospects so others can handle new business development responsibilities during the developer’s absence.
  • Maintains a new business prospect database including primary, secondary and general target prospects; records product/market information about each prospect; and regularly updates all contact information.
  • Follows up on all prospect meetings with letters/agency literature.
  • In preparation for future growth, creates, refines, and documents the entire sales system in a manner that will easily allow training of another new marketing coordinator. Includes each minute process including scripting of sales calls/meetings, proper attire, software requirements, presentation strategies, etc.
  • Looks for new business leads by building contacts with selected industry trade publications and organizations, business and civic groups; maintains Prospect Profiles for agency marketing director’s review and approval for adding to prospect list; adds to prospect list with approved leads gained from business contacts, networking, etc.
  • In conjunction with the agency ceo, researches and constructs reports on selected prospects/industries/products for use as “intelligent marketing tools” in sales efforts with prospects.
  • May be called upon to represents agency in the community through business/civic organizations.
  • Inventories all materials/supplies needed to continue the new business effort uninterrupted, including 3-D mailing pieces, agency brochures, agency newsletters and other promotional literature, letterhead, press release forms, etc., and alerts production manager if there is a need to restock.
  • Meets with the agency account service team, including agency ceo, to keep them informed of new business opportunities gained from new business efforts; transfers prospect contact to president/account service team when agency is ready to “go in.”
  • Maintains current job-related software and technical skills and notifies agency marketing director if training, computer hardware/software upgrades or purchases are needed.
  • Adds input to marketing plans/proposals when prospect is elevated to account status; shares all available research and industry information for this purpose.

What Type of Designer Are You: Solo, In-house, or Ad Agency?

Where designers work varies as much as the designers themselves. Some work in the corner of their studio in their pj’s while sipping their Starbucks coffee. Others work in the marketing department of a Fortune 500 company. Then there are those who design an array of work for diverse clients in an ad agency.

Being a designer who has worked in all three arenas, I thought I would provide some insight and go over some pros and cons for each. Every creative has his or her own unique preferences and needs. What may work for you, may not work for the next designer. However, rest assured that YOU do have a place in this crazy industry called design.

Solo (Freelance) Designer

Pros: A great majority of designers are their own boss. One reason for that is the freedom that comes from waking up when you want to and scheduling your work as it best suits you. Also you have the privilege to accept as many or as few projects as you want. Another great benefit is that you get to exhibit your true creative potential, which is something very important to keep the excitement of design alive. Usually this will increase as you begin building your reputation and can select the projects you want. Want to go on vacation – just ask yourself when and where and you’re off! Oh, and let’s not forget – set your own rate. Several designers have higher salaries as a freelancer than in-house because they can set the price they feel their services are worth.

Cons: Starting out, you may be overwhelmed. This can be especially difficult for designers who are just beginning their design career. It’s strongly recommended that you work for a company awhile before venturing out on your own. One common issue to deal with as a freelance designer is the absence of a steady paycheck. Your paycheck is really the sum of your projects, how you bill them, and how soon your client will pay you. If you’re not an organizer and saver by heart, this route will teach you by force. Another con is that no one will go and get the clients for you. This may be a positive challenge some look forward to, while for others it will make them cringe. Either way, you are solely responsible for attaining and retaining your clients, so be creative in your marketing.

In-House Designer

Pros: With the recent economy shift, many companies, both large and small have decided to keep their work in-house. The company itself benefits greatly in this arrangement; and so do the designers. One of the largest benefits is the stability. Since these companies want the assurance of having an “on-call” design department, you can be sure designers will be there for a number of years. Another positive is since you are an employee you have the same great benefits as the rest of your co-workers in other departments. They can include health insurance, paid time off including holidays and vacation, disability, 401k, and sometimes even tuition assistance. If you’re concerned about working long hours, then you’ve come to the right place. In-house departments typically have the same 8 hr shift as the rest of the company. So you will be home before it’s dark – lucky you.

Cons: Once you step foot in an in-house design department, remember there are rules to abide by that were put in place long before you came; unless you were one of the pioneers in starting the department. Branding guidelines are very strict and must be adhered to in every executed project. As a result, after time you may feel you’re designing the same old piece. You can attempt to do something fresh and innovative, but don’t take offense if it’s not received positively. Another con may be the manner in which you’re perceived within the company. Many non-designers think you press a magic button and their 20 page brochure will be done within the hour. One way to counteract this is through communication. Educate your manager and co-workers as to why it takes a certain amount of time, so they may be able to forward that key information to other departments and clients. After all, designers are not magicians – ok, maybe a little.

Ad Agency / Design Firm Designer

Pros: Can anyone say CREATE! One major pull ad agencies have over other creative environments is the plethora of great creative. Usually there is more time to focus on one or two campaigns at a time and so you get quite a bit of time to brainstorm and collaborate with your peers. If you’re lucky some of the campaigns you worked on that were executed can add sparkle to your portfolio. This is usually the case since the clients’ budgets are bigger and allow for custom photography, higher-end print finishes, illustration, etc. Another advantage is the people that surround you. In an ad agency, you get to hang out with your “creative peeps.” These may include, but are not limited to other designers, photographers, copywriters and creative directors. Since you feel comfortable collaborating and brainstorming in such a setting, it results in a more uplifting and inspiring attitude. Which leads me to another positive – the space. Ad agency higher-ups know that creatives need a fun place to work to get their juices flowing so many have eliminated the greige cubicles and replaced them with funky open areas so all can interact informally without restrictions because you never know when the greatest idea will arise.

Cons: When you work in-house your employer is your client, so they’re unlikely to go anywhere. However, clients in an ad agency can come and go. If a huge account is lost, you may lose your job along with it, which may explain why you see designers jumping from agency to agency through no fault of their own. If you have children and other commitments outside of work, you may want to think carefully if this is the place for you, as long hours extending into the late nights are the norm. Every account is considered important and every deadline is set, so multiply that by three and you could easily be working 50-70 hrs a week. Of course this leads to another disadvantage; burnout. Working those long hours churning out great work can leave you “juiceless” after a couple of years, remember to set your priorities accordingly and give yourself time to relax and re-energize.

Links and Resources

For Solo (Freelance) Designers:

For In-House Designers:

For Ad Agency / Design Firm Designers:

For All Designers:

So now that you’ve seen a small glimpse into the good and bad of these three creative environments, which one best fits you? Tell us your experiences – we’d love to hear from you.

Media Terms & Definitions

It is important for everyone in an agency to understand media terminology to improve communication both within the agency as well as with clients. This
is especially important for newcomers to the agency business or business owners who don’t deal with media everyday.

Here are some common media terms and definitions.

DEMOGRAPHIC: Specific groups within the universe that one is targeting, usually broken down by age and gender but could also include income, buying characteristic, lifestyle etc.

RATING: A percent of the population or universe exposed to an advertising medium.

RATING POINT: A value equal to one percent (one rating) of a population or universe.

GRP/TRP: The sum of all the ratings delivered by a given list of media properties. Specifically, they mean gross rating point and target rating point. They essentially mean the same thing.

IMPRESSION: This is the number of contacts (eyeballs) that are exposed to a message. It does include duplication and is usually expressed in thousands.

REACH: The percent of different people or households exposed to a specific media schedule within a given period of time, expressed as a percentage. It is unduplicated and can be used to refer to a single media property or a media schedule.

FREQUENCY: The average number of times a target audience or household is reached by a media schedule.

CPM: Cost per thousand. It is the cost to expose 1,000 people or households to your advertising.

CPP: Cost per point. It represents the cost of purchasing one rating point.

PRE-EMPTION: The substitution of one advertiser’s ad by another advertiser paying a higher rate for the same time and program.

MAKE-GOOD: Comparable unit or units of advertising offered when the original spot ordered either did not run or ran incorrectly.

NET COST: Advertising rates that do not include agency commission.

GROSS COST: Advertising rates that include agency commission.

SHARE: A percentage of the audience tuned to a particular program at a given time.

BILLBOARD: Typically, an outdoor advertising display unit. It also can be a :05 or :10 announcement indicating sponsorship of a program or feature such as traffic or news.

POSTER PANEL: A standard outdoor advertising display unit.

SHOWING: A group of outdoor boards, which provide certain percentage coverage of a market, usually purchased as #25 showing or #50 showing.

AVAILS: Availability – it is the unsold units of time available to
sell to advertisers. It can also be a station’s submission of programs, rates and ratings for planning and buying.

DAYPART: One of the time segments the day is divided by for broadcast media. It is determined by programming.

DRIVE TIME: Dayparts used in radio that have the highest amount of listeners in cars, usually while people are driving to and from work. It is generally from M-F 6a-10a and M-F 3p-7p.

ROS: Run of Schedule – where specific times and programs have not been requested by the advertiser.

DMA: Designated Market Area – Nielsen’s term for geographical areas made up of exclusive counties based on which home market stations receive the predominate share of viewing.

CIRCULATION: Total number of copies of a publication distributed at a specific time.

COLUMN INCH: A unit of newspaper space that is one column wide and one inch deep.

P4C: Abbreviation for page 4-color ad.

PBW: Abbreviation for page black & white ad.

DEC: Daily Effective Circulation – it is the average number of persons, in cars or other vehicles, passing and potentially exposed to an advertising display for either 12, 18 or 24 hours.

EOIs: Eyes On Impressions – the average number of persons who are likely to notice an ad on an out of home
display for either 12 hours (un-illuminated) or 18 hours (illuminated). Unless specified as In-Market, EOIs include all persons who notice the unit, regardless of the origin of their trips. EOIs are reported in weekly increments.

Although these definitions account for some of the everyday terms, we encourage you to continue your quest for media knowledge and know-how. Please see the following for more terms and definitions:

http://www.arbitron.com/radio_stations/tradeterms.htm http://www.nielsenmedia.com/glossary/index.htm http://www.oaaa.org/marketingresources/industrystandards/outdoorterms.aspx